PayMaya recently announced a partnership with SM Malls. Pic: Facebook

Mainstream cashless payments finally arrive in Philippines

IT took a considerably long time, but mainstream cashless payments are now finally available for consumers in the Philippines.

Online payments platform PayMaya recently announced a partnership with SM Malls, one of the biggest mall chains the Southeast Asian country.

PayMaya, which is owned by PLDT Inc., has been around for a while in the Philippines. Until its partnership with SM Malls, the digital payments platform has mostly been utilized as a service for online transactions only. By allying itself with SM Malls, PayMaya might finally be able to usher in what could very well be the country’s first step towards a mainstream cashless payment system.

In a recent statement to The Philippine Star, PayMaya Philippines President and Chief Executive Officer Orlando Vea noted that his firm’s collaboration with SM Malls is a huge step for the Philippines. Among countries in the Southeast Asian region, after all, the Philippines currently lags in the digital payments race, with most transactions still heavily dependent on cash and card-initiated operations.

In a lot of ways, PayMaya’s partnership with SM Malls makes sense. SM, after all, has long been one of PayMaya’s loading centers, where the platform’s users can top up their accounts for future purchases.

“SM has been an early partner of PayMaya as a load-up center for our customers, as well as a valued partner of our Smart Padala remittance service. This is a natural progression of our collaboration as we make it easier for our customers to use their PayMaya accounts anywhere they are in the country,” Vea said, according to the Star.

With PayMaya and SM’s collaboration in place, customers can now pay via their smartphones. Shoppers can simply open the PayMaya app on their Android or iOS devices and initiate the transaction by scanning a QR code displayed at the malls’ Mobile Pay lanes.

To further encourage consumers to take advantage of cashless payments, PayMaya and SM Malls have announced a 10 percent rebate for purchases up to PHP1,000 (around US$19.75) using the digital payment system. This rebate will be applicable until April 15, 2018.

In a statement to, The SM Store President Chelo Monasterio stated that its collaboration with the PLDT-owned digital payments platform is a valuable step towards the transformation of retail in the Philippines.

“The retail landscape is changing, and the SM Store is proud to lead the way with partners like PayMaya,” he said.

While PayMaya is still pretty much starting its journey into mainstream retail in the Philippines, the digital payments platform has already managed to gain a considerable user base over the past few years.

In a country with very little credit card penetration, PayMaya provides Filipino shoppers a chance to engage in online transactions using virtual credit cards.