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SMC invests P200M in e-commerce

Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corporation has invested about P200 million to enter the fast-growing e-commerce industry via new subsidiary Autosweep Post Corporation.

The firm launched its flagship product, the Sweep card, a contactless reloadable cash card that can be used to pay for goods and services and even toll fees.

It can be used at various partner establishments – making transactions safe, easy, and more convenient as it eliminates the need for cash or credit cards. It is similar to the octopus card used in Hong Kong.

“Sweep is laying down the foundation for the Philippines to become a cashless society. It’s revolutionizing how we transact business. The P100 Sweep card is valid for 3 years has no maintaining balance or annual fees; it is our answer to the government’s call for financial inclusion,” said SMC president Ramon S. Ang.

He added that “with a registered account, cardholders can also pay bills online, reload their cellphones, transfer money to another Sweep cardholder for free, and track their expenses. Registered cardholders can also recover their money should their cards get lost or stolen.”

Greenhils Shopping Center is the first mall to promote its use by all of its tenants, including stalls in its flea market. Ortigas shopping center division general manager Cathy Casares-Ko said it will also be used in Tiendesitas by next month as well as in the mall being built in Capitol Commons.

Sweep cards are equipped with both an RFID chip and a magnetic stripe for ATM transactions. The company has tied up with Security Bank to make it easier for cardholders to open a bank account at no extra cost.

Meanwhile, by the second quarter of 2014, Sweep can be used to pay for toll at the South Luzon Expressway and the Skyway system and soon, at the Tarlac-Pangasinan- La Union Expressway as well as the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR).

At the same time, partner bus and taxi companies are also lined up to use Sweep.

SMC senior vice president Aurora Calderon said they hope to have a million cardholders by the end of the year while terminals should reach 6,000 by March from the current 1,000 in 100 partner merchants.

“We are very proud of the free card-to-card transfer feature as this is an alternative way to sending money. Right now, the average domestic remittance rate in the country is at 6 percent. So we know Sweep will surely benefit a lot of Filipinos,” Ang said.

Sweep is currently being sold at National Bookstore and will soon be available at 7-Eleven stores and Petron service stations. The same stores will serve as reloading partners.