Mar 21, 2007

[Web] Checkout and Other Payment Services in the Philippines

Google Checkout logoWhile I'm not actually a heavy online shopper or anything like that but of course it's always fun to add another Google product to my account and in the chance that I need to make an online payment, I'd rather have Google handle my account information. I guess I really just trust them, huh?

Anyway, based on this help page, technically Google doesn't support users with billing addresses in the Philippines. However when I actually tried signing up at the website, the Philippines is listed as one of the supported countries. I completed the signup process, got my confirmation email along with my $10 sign-up bonus and my credit card information is now saved as part of my Google Account. What's up with that?

Based on another help page, the Philippines is supported as a shipping destination, so this may connect to why I was able to sign-up. On a whim, I tried sending feedback to the Google team in the hopes that someone picks it up and edits the help page to reflect the Philippines as one of the supported countries or perhaps invalidate my account if the case warrants it. In the meantime, I'm holding off on experimenting with purchases until I know I'm not violating the ToS somehow.

PayPal logoOn a side note, PayPal has also been made available to Philippine rresidents as of October of last year, which is somewhat good news for people like myself who signed up for the PayPal for the Philippines petition movement.

Before you jump up and down to celebrate that PayPal is available, allow me to clarify to what extent the service is available, especially in contrast to Google Checkout. Checkout is a payment only service that supports online payments but nothing else. PayPal for the Philippines also provides payment support and none of the other features currently available to US users, namely loading accounts through credit cards, receiving funds via PayPal and the ability to withdraw funds into a local bank account. You're also limited to sending only $100 unless you verify use of a credit card or a debit card. So there's no real difference between PayPal and Google Checkout at this point, unless either company decides to expand its portfolio anytime soon.

Kaban logoThe only local payment service I remember trying to fill the void of online payment solutions available locally was a site once called PayPlus+ but is now called Kaban and is a member of the Yehey family of products. If you didn't already know, Yehey is a local search engine that has managed to survive over the years with limited success. PayPlus+ was previously limited to ATM signups for BancNet cardholders. The new Kaban now accepts more banks and now supports credit cards. Sadly, it remains strictly a payment site and does not support receiving payments.

Whoever does manage to support actual funds transfers will definitely make a pretty penny in terms of the Philippine remittance market. With at least $12 billion coming into the country every year in terms of remittances, there is a definite market for this service in order to escape the heavy transaction fees charged by services like Western Union.

Are you listening Google? PayPal? Don't you want a piece of this pie?

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