SM stores now accept payments for Veco as authorized channels-A A +A
By Mia A. Aznar
Monday, January 28, 2013
WITH 35 percent of bills paid through third-party channels, the Visayan Electric Company (Veco) hopes more of their customers will trust the new systems and pay through different means.
Billing and collection manager Sandro Aboitiz said that currently, most Veco bills paid are over the counter. Only few have opted to try paying online or through automated teller machines.
Aboitiz said this figure has risen, as it used to be just 26 percent. They hope to drive it even higher and lessen the lines at their own offices and make things more convenient for their customers.
Veco vice president for customer relations and administration Ricky Lacson said there are still clients who hesitate to pay through third-party channels for fear that their transaction will not be immediately recorded in their system and could lead to disconnection of the service.
However, Lacson said they also want to discourage clients from waiting until they get red bills, or those with a notice of disconnection.
By adding more ways for clients to pay their bills, they hope to encourage prompt payments.
One of these is by adding SM City as one of its third-party collection partners.
Veco and SM signed an agreement Friday allowing SM department stores, Hypermart and Savemore supermarkets to start collecting Veco payments.
The company encourages clients to pay through authorized third-party collection partners to ensure timely posting of payments at no additional cost. They are also advised to pay bills on or before the due date to avoid surcharges and disconnection.
Lacson said having partners like SM, which has a huge presence throughout the country, makes paying bills convenient for their customers as they can do many things in one area, rather than going to Veco collection offices to pay their bills.
He added that there are cases where Veco bills are being paid from areas like Manila and Davao. This, he said, is where SM becomes an important partner for them.
However, once notices of disconnection have been issued, they encourage customers to pay in Veco collection offices at SM City Cebu; Bulacao, Talisay City; Talamban, Cebu City; Cansaga, Consolacion; and Poblacion, Liloan.
For their part, SM officials said adding Veco to the list of payments they can collect at their facilities adds to the customer experience.
The SM Bills Payment Center accepts payments for credit cards, bank loans, utilities and government transactions like applications from the National Statistics Office and license fees for the Philippine Regulation Commission.
Lacson added that it would be expensive for them to put up more collection offices to serve areas with no payment facilities nearby, which is why they encourage their customers to pay through third-party collection partners.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 29, 2013.