PREPAID SURVEY. Ding's Global Prepaid Index shows 89 percent of Filipino respondents are prepaid service users. With this number, Ding sees huge potential for mobile top-up services in the country. (Infographics courtesy of Ding)

MANILA – Dublin-based mobile top-up service firm Ding sees bright prospects in top-up payment in the Philippines amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, according to its executive.
 
Ding chief commercial officer Rupert Shaw said the Covid-19 crisis has accelerated the shift to use digital technologies for financial services, such as payment and money transfer.
 
“The prepaid trend has accelerated and our role in our customers’ lives has been really pronounced during this pandemic, helping them stay connected to family while locked down, or unable to travel has been something our service has been able to do,” he said in an e-mail interview with the Philippine News Agency over the weekend. 
 
With connectivity becoming more important than ever due to the pandemic, Shaw said this opens bigger opportunities for top-up payment in the country.
 
“There is huge potential for top-up payment in the Philippines,” he added. “Digital progress has enabled increased connectivity on a global level.”
 
In its Global Prepaid Index (GPI), the Philippines is one of the countries with the strongest preference for prepaid mobile services.
 
With about 89 percent of Filipino respondents said they are consumers of prepaid mobile services, Ding founder and chief executive Mark Roden said the mobile top-up service firm believes there is significant growth potential for the broader prepaid market in the Philippines.
 
“As a country with more than 2.2 million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), democratizing access to prepaid financial products and services can play a powerful role in improving people’s lives. The OFWs are in many ways modern heroes in the Filipino economy, and prepaid products like top-up make it easier for them to stay in contact with loved ones back home,” Roden added.
 
Moreover, Shaw said restrictions due to Covid-19 also limit transactions using traditional retail channels.
 
“People who needed to support loved ones with money or other micro-value transfers, such as mobile phone top-ups or bill payment but who didn’t want to put themselves at risk by leaving their homes, have sought out digital methods,” he said. 
 
Shaw added the company has recorded an uptick of nearly 50 percent in prepaid transactions during 2020 as customers prioritized keeping in contact with their family, friends, and acquaintances by topping up their own phones or sending e-gift cards to their loved ones.
 
‘Super apps’
 
According to Ding’s GPI, almost 70 percent of Filipino respondents said they are interested in ‘super apps’, which is a one-stop shop platform for all their needs.
 
One good example of a super app is China’s WeChat.
 
“Super apps, particularly in the fintech sector, are providing real, viable, and more affordable options for money remitters, without a traditional bank account, to continue to be the lifeblood for communities all around the world,” Shaw said, adding these features of super apps would be ideal for Filipino users, including OFWs. (PNA)