Xsolla researched and found many interesting facts about Smart Communications, the pioneer of mobile payment services in the Philippines.
With one of the lowest credit card penetration rates in the Asian Pacific, the Philippines is an emerging market for mobile payment services. Therefore, it is no exaggeration to say mobile payments are synonymous to online payments in the Philippines. Smart Communications was one of the earliest adopters of mobile payment services in Philippines, launching the first mobile payment service in 2001. Established in 1991, Smart Communications is the Philippines’ leading wireless service provider and has now grown into a significant telecommunication company with 53.5 million subscribers all over the Philippines. Smart Communications attempts to build a full ecosystem around their clients and provides them with all the payment services possible through the mobile phone and SIM card.
Payment Solutions of Smart Communications
Direct Carrier Billing
Smart Communications’ direct carrier billing service allows customers to make a purchase through a simple text message and pay for it on their monthly phone bill. Using this service, customers can purchase various digital content such as music, games, magazines, movies, etc. Smart Communications has developed this service with an understanding that not every Filipino user owns a credit card and, thus, saw the potential in providing a mobile device payment service for these such users. This service is offered to both Android and Apple users. Direct carrier billing is very popular not only in the Philippines, but also all over South-East Asia.
Smart Money is an electronic wallet similar to a bank account. When you subscribe to the Smart Money service, you receive a rechargeable payment card (Smart Money card) which is linked to a SMART mobile phone. This card will enable customers to use their mobile phone to transfer money domestically and internationally, buy airtime, pay bills and much more. Smart Money works on the Philippines’ nationwide network so the customer can send money to any of SMART’s 50.9 million subscribers within the nation.
Game X is an online portal which enables gamers to purchase gaming ePINS via their mobile account. Developed by Smart Communication, Game X allows players to simply visit the website, select the PIN for the game they are playing, and pay using their SMART, Talk ‘N Text or Sun Cellular prepaid card. Since the majority of Filipino players do not own credit cards, this method of payment by prepaid mobile phone was proven to be effective. Game X offers their service for a variety of the most popular games such as League of Legends, Dota 2, Steam, War Commander, World of Tanks, and much more.
Who’s better: Smart or Globe?
Globe Telecom is another major provider of telecommunication services in the Philippines and is a well-known competitor of Smart Communications. Globe Telecom also provides e-wallets called Globe Gcash which covers almost all the transactions done by Smart Money. Although Smart Communications surpasses Globe in 4 of 5 NTC test parameters (Philippines’ National Telecommunications Commission), Globe Telecom outperformed Smart Communications by far when it came down to the grade of service parameter.
It is important to note that Filipinos have enormous trust in mobile payment methods. All other payment channels are not trusted by the majority of the population, shown by the low credit card rate throughout the Philippines. Smart Communications has quickly acknowledged the culture of the country and captured the market with their advanced mobile payment methods. Since Smart Communications is the leading wireless service provider in the Philippines, analyzing their services offer us great insight into the mobile payment market in the Philippines.