RCBC: Revolutionizing payment systems

By Michaela Villaroman

In the coming years, the Philippines will keep moving to become a cash-lite society as digital advancements and technologies become more prevalent in the country. But taking into account that the majority of Filipinos are cash heavy users, it would take real effort to steer the public into accepting new digitized solutions. Recognizing this challenge, RCBC intends to lead the Philippines to embracing new innovative developments.

Recently, RCBC came up with ePiso, a revolutionary payment solution that is considered the first-of-its-kind in the Philippines. The launch of ePiso marks the first digitized Philippine currency that provides users with a better way of handling and transacting with their money.

“RCBC has always had financial inclusion close to its heart,” said Margarita Lopez, RCBC Group Head of Digital Banking. With that, the ePiso was created to reach out to the unbanked and the underserved as they make payment solutions more secure, convenient, and affordable.

Revolutionizing the peso

To elaborate how ePiso works, Lopez further explained the concept behind it. “ePiso acts as the digitized currency equivalent to our everyday peso, so it’s really your cash and we just convert it to digital form,” Lopez explained. With that, convenience is assured as users can now easily manage their money through the use of the ePiso Mobile Wallet app instead of having to carry actual cash all the time.

Using ePiso also guarantees the security of the user in a multitude of ways. For one, ePiso promises the safe storage of money with safety measures that are designed to protect users from loss or theft. They also ensure security in the sense that all transactions can be monitored in their system, “ePiso records the transactions so that users will be able to see exactly where their money goes,” said Jeri Martinez, RCBC Group Digital Marketing Division Head.

As for affordability, ePiso comes with the promise of providing cheap transaction fees. This means users can pay their bills and transfer money at a lower cost as compared to other payment solutions.

Currently, ePiso is in its pilot phase. It has already been tested in Southville 3; National Housing Authority, Muntinlupa City; and Valencia City, Bukidnon. So far, they have successfully on-boarded farmers and merchants who reacted positively to the service they were providing.

Martinez shared some insights they gathered from their pilot-tests, “We got good feedback because they found that the process was easy. Somehow at first they got intimidated by the fact that they needed an app, but when they actually tried it already, they realized it was really simple to use.”

As ePiso intends to answer the needs specifically of the unbanked and underserved, it was important that the responses they received affirmed the value of the solutions they offer. And indeed, their efforts were well-received. For instance, most of the farmers they worked with in their pilot phase lived miles away from the city centers, so it was always a challenge for them to access stores and even process their loans. But now, through ePiso, these farmers can easily transact and transfer funds without hassle.

These kinds of results are exactly what ePiso aims to achieve through their service. Though the process to fully introduce ePiso to Philippine users might take long, RCBC remains optimistic. “One hurdle that we need to deal with is that cash-heavy users are not immediately open to switching to digital currency. For now, it’s an alien concept to them but we intend to transform behavior,” Martinez shared.

Aside from increasing awareness about ePiso, RCBC also wants to maximize their service  interoperability. JR Guillergan, RCBC Group Strategic Service Delivery Head, shared his thoughts on the matter, “The ultimate goal is to have one standard digital currency unlike what we are experiencing right now with having multiple electronic money providers that only cater to their own closed loop of users. One of the goals of ePiso is to also create an ecosystem for sustainability. We recognize the fact that in order for this digital currency to be acceptable and sustainable, we need to create value chains.”

RCBC and innovation

For RCBC, launching ePiso was an effort to keep improving their services. To match the changing times, innovation becomes a necessity for organizations to continue thriving. “The bar is constantly being raised, so you have to keep innovating. Whether these innovations include applying new technology or even doing something as simple as changing your organization’s business model, it should be done,” Lopez said.  

Especially when it comes to banking, innovation is a must to keep providing clients with the best services and solutions. “Innovation can’t just be for innovation's sake. RCBC doesn’t want to be an innovative bank that implements new technologies that don’t really add value to Filipinos’ lives. We want to innovate in order for us to answer actual problems and contribute to financial inclusion. At the end of the day, we just want to improve the lives of the unbanked and the underserved,” Martinez explained.

True to their mission, RCBC has launched other initiatives that answer other needs of Filipinos. Aside from ePiso, they also have Cash Express, the country’s first neighborhood ATM that enables anyone to do regular banking transactions through sari-sari stores and remittance centers. They also recently launched the RCBC MyWallet Virtual Card that gives users the means to a secure online payment tool.

Through these services, RCBC hopes to continue  to be a part of the everyday lives of the customers they serve. Martinez shared, “We want to make everything better, easier, and more convenient for them. When we innovate, we want to innovate with a purpose - this is the north star that RCBC will always continue to follow.”

For more information on RCBC and ePiso, you may visit their website here.