clenched fist with money bills

Peso bills and coins. You pay with it every day. A cashier will ask you for barya (coins) for your goods at the convenience store. You whip out your wallet and realize you are one peso short. Getting a cola at a vendo machine? It’s cool in case you have 50- or 20-peso bills, and the machine gives change. Tough luck if you ran out of them. Even tougher luck if the coins you put in don’t get accepted either. Paying for your electric bill? It’s annoying to have to give out the exact amount, taking care not to lose any coins you brought for that purpose. Isn’t it time for you to start switching to e-wallets?

What are e-wallets?

home screen of PayMaya virtual wallet
The PayMaya Dashboard

E-wallets, or electronic wallets, are not new in the Philippines. These are basically mobile phone apps that you can use to store your Philippine pesos in digital form. E-wallets are also known as e-money or virtual wallets. In recent years there’s probably been at least a dozen or so of them, each one competing for adoption by most Filipinos. There’s PayMaya, Gcash, coins.ph, and Hello Pag-IBIG, to name a few. Their services range from paying for store purchases (via scannable PH QR codes), buying load for mobile phones, doing bills payment, to doing fund transfer to other people (via InstaPay).

“Cash is king”, but with some inconveniences

The cliché is true, as cash be used for pretty much anything, anywhere. However, there are some inconveniences.

It’s tiring to be asked by cashiers “if you have a smaller bill” whenever they don’t have enough smaller bills and coins to provide you the correct change. It’s not that it’s their fault — sometimes they just run out of bills and coins too soon.

The “New Generation Currency” coins by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) are now making their way into circulation while the older “BSP Coin Series” are slowly making their way out. The new coins have had their share of infamy mainly due to their all-silver color (nickel-plating, to be correct) as well as their nearly-identical sizes.

A new twenty-peso coin has also joined the collection, which some people say is too big and too heavy to carry. The new nonagon-shaped five-peso coin is also circulating now, but I still feel it’s still too close to the size of the piso. (20- and 5-piso coin images shared with permission courtesy of dmitrivalencia)

Transferring cash via over-the-counter bank deposit is such a time-waster. Not everyone has a bank account, for one. Transferring via pera padala (send money) outlets also takes time, similar to how people prefer to line up in banks or malls just to pay for their bills.

Switching to e-wallets can at least help alleviate these inconveniences without losing your hard-earned cash (and time, for that matter).

Advantages of turning your money to e-money

You pay exact amount — ora mismo!

No more fumbling for coins! Less pressure from the others in queue because you’re busy counting your peso bills for payment! Yay!

Scan-to-pay QR code on Gcash
Scan-to-Pay. It’s just a quick tap of a button to open your virtual wallet, scan the QR code, and pay!

Your suking cashiers will also thank you — they have less to worry about when it comes to giving others their change, as well as less worries about end-of-day accounting issues!

E-money is light — cash-lite!

Some of us probably hate the BSP for designing the new coins that way, but virtual wallets are here to stay. At the very least, we won’t have to deal with coins as much. More and more places accept payments using these virtual wallets, so why not try it out? Your pocket will also thank you for having less clanging of coins. No more ranting about too-heavy coins in your purse or pocket either!

Start using virtual wallets and you start saving time

Hello Pag-IBIG Pay Bills screen
Hello Pag-IBIG’s Pay Bills Feature

A popular feature that is common in the various e-money apps is bills payment. No more quick runs to banks or department stores just to pay for your Manila Water or other house bills. You can perform them directly in-app. Some even offer cashbacks for doing bills payment! Who would not want some savings along the way?

Hello Pag-IBIG Pera Padala screen
Hello Pag-IBIG’s Pera Padala Feature

Some also offer pera padala features so you don’t have to go to physical money remittance stores just to send money. Very convenient instead of riding to town just to remit money to family or friends elsewhere!

Super easy cash-in options

Gcash cash in screen
Nowadays, it’s so much easier to use e-wallets as there’s a lot more places where you can cash-in.

You can turn your cash into e-money by cashing in at more convenience stores. Moreover, the apps themselves allow you to cash-in by converting money from your linked debit and credit cards, if you have some. Super convenient!

Conclusion

We have been accustomed to using cash for a long, long time. However, it is time to update our money habits especially in this era where we have most services going online. Switching to e-wallets is one sure-fire way of saving time and even some money to transact in different services, online or in real life. See for yourself which virtual wallet will help you get through on payments daily!