SMC unit to launch reloadable cash cards

By Neil Jerome Morales, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 28 2014 07:43 AM | Updated as of Jan 28 2014 03:43 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) has jumpstarted its foray into the e-commerce business with the launch of a reloadable cash card targeted for at least one million users this year.

Its newly-created subsidiary, Autosweep Post Corp., has invested around P200 million for the Sweep cash card that can be used in more than 100 merchant partners, company executives said.

“Sweep is laying down the foundation for the Philippines to become a cashless society. It’s revolutionizing how we transact’s our answer to the government’s call for financial inclusion,” said SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang.

Sweep contactless and reloadable cash cards can be used to pay for goods and services at various partner establishments.

“Once loaded, you can use it right away to pay for purchases at any of our partner merchants. With a registered account, cardholders can also pay bills online, reload their cellphones, transfer money to another Sweep cardholder for free, and track their expenses,” Ang said.

Autosweep has partnered with Security Bank Corp., allowing cardholders to easily open a bank account at no extra cost.

The SMC subsidiary will tie up with four to five more banks late this year to expand its reach. SMC-controlled Bank of Commerce is improving its infrastructure as it prepares to offer Sweep.

To date, more than 100 merchants have signed up for Sweep, including Petron, 7-Eleven, National Bookstore, McDonald’s, Rustan’s Fresh and Greenhills Shopping Center, among others.

“We’re very encouraged by the response we have received from our partner merchants and end-users. We didn’t expect to have this many partners at this early stage, but it seems like everyone has been waiting for something like this to come along,” said Sweep operations manager Noel Noble.

“This will be a one-card system. Later on, this can be used by overseas Filipinos for money transfer,” said SMC senior vice-president Aurora T. Calderon.

As part of its synergy strategy, Autosweep said Sweep can be used to pay for toll at the South Luzon Expressway and the Skyway system, and soon, at the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union-Expressway and the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road.