AS the homegrown brand Prince Retail Group widens its market presence in the Visayas and Mindanao, it has likewise expanded its services.
Yesterday, the Go-led retail business formally introduced ECPay to provide convenience to its shoppers in partnership with Electronic Commerce Payments Inc. and Gate Distribution Enterprises Inc.
ECPay is now available in all branches of Prince Hypermart.
“We entered into a partnership with ECPay and Gate Distribution Enterprises, Inc. to expand our services and achieve our mission to serve the underserved areas in the country,” said Rissa Go, finance officer of Prince Retail Group.
Go said see the partnership as an opportunity for the company to increase its customer traffic in all of their branches, as they aim to become a one-stop-shop for goods and services.
Prince Hypermart targets to close 2015 with a total of 28 branches.
Developed in 2001, ECPay is a multi-platform payment infrastructure that operates as a secure e-warehouse and e-payment services data center for prepaid products, bills payment, airline ticket payments, online shopping transactions payments and reloading of electronic cash.
It enables merchants and retail outlets to offer accurate, secure and timely payment services to their customers while providing merchant clients with real-time electronic reconciliation, web-based reporting and system management.
According to ECPay president Jude Aguilar, Filipino consumers have shifted to this payment channel because it makes making payment easier and convenient.
“They no longer need to visit the offices of utilities or firms to pay their dues because they can now settle their payments through ECPay, which now has close to 5,500 channels,” said Aguilar.
Asked if they charge service fees, Ma. Patricia Pascual, general manager of ECPay and Gate Distribution Enterprises Inc., said there are only few billers that charge for service fees at P3 to P5, amounts still lower than the transportation cost consumers will incur if they go to each biller’s office.
ECPay centers are present in convenience stores, service stations, supermarkets, department stores, pawnshops, remittance centers and other retail outlets.
To date, ECPay is accredited by all four major telecommunication companies and more than 80 billing-partners in the country.
It manages an average of 21 million transactions at an annual worth of P7 billion.
Gate Distribution Enterprises Inc., on the other hand, is one of the pioneer distributors in the country that delivers prepaid products and services over the electronic network of ECPay, to major retailers and chain accounts.
According to Ramon Miguel Estrella, president of Gate Distribution, partnering with Prince Retail Group is likewise an opportunity for them to expand their market reach, especially in the underserved areas in the Visayas and Mindanao.
Gate’s products and services range from prepaid landline and mobile phone, prepaid Internet service, gaming cards, prepaid cable subscriptions, anti-virus and security, local content and mobile e-wallet loading. These products are available via prepaid cards, electronic loading and electronic cards.
Within the year, ECPay is planning to widen its coverage and include the remittance, education and hospital markets. The firm is awaiting the remittance license to be issued by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
The company also said it targets to handle P50 billion annually in electronic payments over the next three years.
Of the annual projected target, 50 percent of total electronic payments will come from prepaid loading and bills collection while the other half is expected to come from new services such as ticket payments, overseas bills payments, online credit payments, remittance and licensing/franchising activities.
“Revenues from sales are projected to triple with the introduction of ECPay’s new electronic products and services,” said the company in a statement.
In the coming years, the firm will expand its biller network to include more regional and municipal utilities, real estate, airlines, shipping, and land transportation companies, credit card companies, hospitals, schools, and government institutions.
ECPay also plans to expand to other markets in the Asia Pacific.