Safe and Hassle-Free Bills Payment Methods for Filipinos
Aug 9, 2020 10:50:00 PM
A lot of people don’t like or even hate paying bills. However, it’s a necessary task if you want to continue enjoying services and benefits from utility companies, schools, and government institutions. The good thing is that fintech or financial technology has made paying bills so much faster and easier. Before, you had to personally visit individual offices or go to a payment center to settle your accounts. Today, through the help of the Internet and a smartphone or computer, you can already pay your bills anytime, anywhere.
Below, we’ll discuss various safe and hassle-free bills payments methods. Also included is a list of bills and contributions that you can pay through various platforms.
Different Platforms for Online Payments
Paying bills online is all about convenience. It’s not only fast and easy, but it can also be done using a variety of methods. This gives you more flexibility in handling your finances. In addition, depending on the platform you choose, you can also schedule your payments. This means that you don’t even have to log in. As long as there’s sufficient balance in your account, the payment will go through. You won’t miss any due dates and you don’t have to worry about paying late fees and other penalties. This feature is especially valuable if you’re going out of town and won’t have any reliable network connection.
That being said, here are just a few payment methods you might want to consider (if you haven’t signed up for them yet):
E-wallets like PayMaya have become one of the most popular bills payment methods for Filipinos. E-wallets have been around for more than a decade but only recently gained ground in the Philippines, largely thanks to increased internet penetration. It also helps that smartphones have become more accessible, which resulted in improved user interfaces and experience.
Through the help of PayMaya Pay Bills function and similar features on other e-wallets, customers can pay their bills with just a few taps. Depending on the biller, the payment will be reflected instantaneously or within a few business days. You can also set reminders so you don’t forget due dates or, as earlier mentioned, choose a schedule so that your payment gets debited automatically.
Once the payment is confirmed, you will receive a receipt through text and/or email. Do note that this is not an official receipt. Rather, it’s a transaction number that you can refer to if you need to clarify details with the biller.
Banking Apps and Websites
Most banks in the Philippines have their own websites, with dedicated portals for online banking. This allows customers to check their balances online, transfer money, manage credit cards, and pay bills, among others. Just like e-wallets, payments made to different billers through banking websites will either be reflected immediately or after a few business days.
The downside of banking apps and websites is that, for security purposes, most of them don’t allow online account opening. (However, you can still submit requirements online.) In short, if you don’t have an account with them yet, you won’t be able to use their online services. On the other hand, if you have multiple accounts, you can enroll all of them under one online banking username.
Utility Apps and Websites
Some utility providers have their own mobile apps where you can manage your account details, pay bills, and more. A good example here is Meralco, the largest private electric distribution utility company in the Philippines. With the Meralco app, you can use a debit card, credit card, or a prepaid card to make your payments. There are also other functions within the app, such as monitoring your electricity consumption.
Another example of this payment method would be the apps of telecommunications companies such as Smart. Aside from payments, you can also use the app to subscribe to promos, track your data usage, and access various services. What’s great about using these apps and websites is that your payment is usually credited immediately. If you’re the type who wants to make sure that everything is always up to date, it’s a good idea to pay your utilities through their own apps.
Electronic Payment Hubs
While online banking and payments have gained significant ground in the Philippines in recent years, there are those who remain wary of digital transactions. Also, there are a lot of Filipinos who still do not have bank accounts or credit cards. As such, there are electronic payment hubs and apps that combine online and offline elements.
The way that these payment systems work is that you need to key in the details of the bill you have to pay. These include the name of the biller, the account number, and the amount to be paid. You can do this using a kiosk at a store or through a mobile app. From there, the kiosk or app will give you a barcode or a reference number. To complete the transaction, you have to visit a payment partner to pay in cash. It’s not entirely as convenient or instant, but it definitely shortens the payment process.
What Utilities and Government Contributions Can You Pay Online?
There is a wide variety of utility payments and government transactions that you can accomplish online. These include but are not limited to the following:
- Electricity Bills. Aside from Meralco, some provincial electricity distributors also allow online payments. These payments are usually processed through online banking.
- Water Bills. The two largest water utilities in the country accept various bills payment methods, including those made through e-wallets and online banking.
- Phone and Internet Bills. Most telecommunications companies and internet providers in the Philippines have their own apps where you can make payments. They also have partnerships with various online payment platforms, including e-wallets like PayMaya.
- Credit Card Bills and Loans. You can pay your credit card bills and bank loans through banking apps, although you can also use e-wallets to centralize payments.
- Insurance Premiums. If you have insurance policies, you can pay your premiums through various online means. Nowadays, it’s common for insurance companies to partner up with banks for auto-debit arrangements. Nevertheless, there is still an option to pay separately.
- Taxes. Did you know that you can pay your taxes online? The Bureau of Internal Revenue or BIR has various e-payment partners, including PayMaya. This is the perfect tax payment method for freelancers and small businesses.
- SSS, Pag-IBIG, and PhilHealth. If you’re an employee, your SSS, Pag-IBIG, and PhilHealth contributions are usually handled by your employer. For self-employed individuals, paying these contributions is voluntary. This is why SSS, Pag-IBIG, and PhilHealth partnered with banks and e-payment solutions to make things more convenient. Aside from contributions, you can also pay your SSS and Pag-IBIG loan amortizations through online payment channels.
- DFA Passport Fee. To make passport applications and renewals faster, DFA not only has an online appointment system but also various online payment options. The payment also serves as a confirmation of your personal appearance at the DFA branch. This helps reduce the number of “no show” applicants.
- Philippine Statistics Authority. Speaking of passports, PSA birth certificates and marriage certificates are sometimes required for certain applications. Sometimes, banks, schools, and other similar institutions require PSA documents for verification purposes. You can order copies of these certificates online then pay through various online channels.
- Tuition Fees. Some schools, particularly colleges and universities, have teamed up with payment channels like PayMaya for hassle-free tuition fee payments. Online bank transfer is also a popular method of payment for school fees.
Aside from these, utility bills and other kinds of payments, you can also use online payment channels to buy airline and concert tickets, game credits and pins, and discounted prepaid load. There are also online bill payment methods that accept payments for memorial plans and non-bank lending companies.
The Many Benefits of Paying Bills Online
There are many reasons to pay your bills using online channels like PayMaya. As earlier mentioned, the biggest factor is convenience. No matter where you are, you can pay your bills at any time as long as you have a reliable internet connection. If you schedule the payment accordingly, then you don’t even have to be online. Online bills payment also consolidates all your bills into one hub, so you don’t have to use too many apps.
Below are other benefits of going online when you pay your bills:
Cashback and Other Rewards
PayMaya offers cashback and other deals when you pay your bills online. Other utilities also give their customers loyalty points and other rewards for paying their bills on time through online payment partners. For bargain-loving Pinoys, paying online gives more value. In addition, because you don’t have to commute to pay online, you end up saving even more money.
Online payment offers two-fold safety. The first is digital security. Through reliable online payment partners, you can be sure that your information will be protected. Online payment channels are aware that safety concerns are among the biggest barriers for more widespread acceptance, which is why they work hard to ensure the security of your personal details. Aside from the use of secure socket layers on their websites, online payment providers also make use of 2FA or two-factor authentication. This involves the use of tokens like one-time passwords.
Another layer of safety that online payments provide is health safety. Online payment channels not only minimize exposure to individuals with infectious diseases but also reduce the need to touch ATMs and other shared surfaces. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the alarming speed at which some diseases can spread. The more you can avoid exposure, the better, and online bills payment methods can give you this advantage.
When you pay your bills the traditional way, you need to fill out a form, fall in line, wait to be called, pay, count your change (if any), and then leave. This is not counting other delays, such as system malfunctions or the traffic you endured on the way to the bank or payment center. In short, paying even just one or two bills this way can take you hours. With online banking, you eliminate the need to fill out forms and to fall in line. All you need to do is to input your details and you’re all set. You can even enroll and save biller information so that you don’t need to input the same information over and over again. It doesn’t matter if you’re paying one or ten bills. You’ll only need a few minutes to complete a transaction.
Paying your bills online is better for the planet because there’s no need to fill out multiple forms. There’s also no need to print a separate receipt because your payment confirmations are sent through text messages or email. Indeed, online bills payment is one of the easiest steps to accomplish when adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle. Another benefit of paperless transactions is that minimizes clutter, which means less waste will go into landfills.
Easy Tracking and Budgeting
Tracking your expenses is one of the most effective ways to ensure that you don’t overspend. With online payment methods, you can easily view your transactions to monitor your cash flow. What’s even better is that you can revisit these details at any time. There’s no need to manually input the details on each receipt because the system already does this for you. If you need to check past transactions or need proof of payment, just go to your transaction history and you’ll see all the payments you’ve made.
Compared to our Asian neighbors, the Philippines has been rather slow in terms of the adoption of online payments. However, all of the above-mentioned benefits and the ever-increasing number of partners, it’s easy to see appreciate the wonders of online bills payment. If you haven’t tried it yet, you might want to consider signing up. If you’re already using online methods to pay your bills, try using them for more kinds of bills and exploring more features. You probably won’t want to go back to the traditional way of paying your bills again.