DLSU President and Chancellor Br. Ricky Laguda FSC (left) and Nelson Mattos (right), Google Vice President of Product and Engineering for Europe and Emerging Markets.
Software and product development giant Google launched its card micropayment system BebaPay in De La Salle University yesterday, September 16, making it the first to gain access to the system in the Philippines.
BebaPay is a free system developed by Google and powered by BPI that allows holders to transact without cash by preloading the BebaPay card. The two Teller Stations are located in Perico’s and Animo Biz, while the card can be used for transactions with food concessionaires in the University, and several stalls in Agno.
The card’s function will eventually be expanded to include the bookstore and photocopying stations. Expenses may be tracked through SMS receipts or through the BebaPay website, and lost cards can be deactivated and replaced to avoid the loss of loaded money. Students may avail of the card at the BebaPay booth located at the Henry Sy, Sr. Hall lobby, which will be in place for the next two weeks.
BebaPay was first launched in Kenya early this year, and the system is now being introduced in the Philippines via DLSU.
Nelson Mattos, Google Vice President of Product and Engineering for Europe and Emerging Markets, tells, “We actually talked to a few universities but De La Salle was the most enthusiastic about it. [DLSU was] very supportive and actually helped move us really fast.”
“We started in Kenya because we wanted to solve a payment problem with the bus companies,” shares Google Business Product Manager Eugenie Lam. “In the Philippines, we wanted to launch it with universities because we thought the students would want a solution to everyday transaction problems, and it would makes things more convenient.”
Mattos and Lam, together with other Google executives, were in the University on Tuesday to oversee product launch operations and to test the BebaPay system in the University’s concessionnaires.
If operations in DLSU are successful, the project will expand to include new merchants, first in-campus, and then eventually outside concessionnaires and institutions. Only then will the BebaPay card be available to those not from DLSU. Students who have availed of the BebaPay card will be able to make use of their cards for transactions outside the University.
Google’s BebaPay project was specifically developed for emerging markets, where a large percentage of the population do not have access to banking systems and credit, and are forced to transact with cash.
“Cash is not the most appropriate way,” explains Mattos, “It can easily disappear. If it’s lost, it’s lost. It’s gone forever. So BebaPay is an easy way for those that don’t have the ability to support banking, for them to be able to pay without having to carry cash around.”
Google hopes to have the BebaPay card cover transactions with virtually all establishments including food, clothing, and bookstores, among others. It also sees expanding functions to integrate other financial systems so that money can be directly transferred from banks to the BebaPay system.