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What is the internet for, if not for convenience?
Widespread digital connectivity is being used in many ways, from communication to research and entertainment to commerce. So, it only makes sense that most transactions can now be done online with just a few taps on your phone.
Bills, Bills, Bills: The Benefit to Bills Payment, Online
What are the usual scenarios in bills payment? Often it involves plenty of frustration, waiting, and queueing up in the nearest payment office.
It means having to get up very early in the morning to beat the lines at Meralco or waiting until the malls open so they can queue up at the utility payment services there.
Many people pay in cash, which means looking for an available ATM for withdrawals the previous day. And then there’s also the oft-annoying wait, enduring the crowds and wasting time you can spend on more important things.
The stress of bills payment doesn’t just apply to utilities like the electricity, phone bills, and internet bills; people queue up in banks to pay off their credit cards, head to their insurance companies to pay off their premiums, and more. Many make a whole day out of it—going from place to place to pay off their dues.
Online bills payment eliminates just about every single one of these issues.
- It’s convenient: As long as you have an internet connection and a payment portal or an online banking account, you can pay your bills just about anywhere. You don’t even have to leave your home, and you can get it all done in one place. It’s the most hassle-free method to do it.
- It’s safe: A significant concern in paying bills in person is enduring the crowds that come with it. And in the year of COVID-related risks, there’s a high chance of exposing yourself to infection when you’re in a crowd for long periods. Furthermore, these are the areas likely to be indoors and enclosed, further increasing the danger. It’s not an issue when you make online bills payment: you’re safe at home and kept away from exposure. Additionally, it’s also secure. You don’t need to bring cash with you and payment platforms usually have a stringent verification process for added security.
- And most of all, it’s fast: No queuing, no waiting, and no travel from one place to another are involved. Getting everything done in one place, immediately and online, enables you to get all your bills paid in minutes. Moreover, online bill payment gives you even more opportunities to pay on time, reducing the risk of getting the utilities cut off or accruing any late fees from the bank.
Get the Better of Your Bills: The Best Online Bill Payment Services in The Philippines
Just 10 years ago, this kind of ease would’ve been unthinkable for a lot of people. But now, online bills payment is widely accessible, with many more avenues to do it. Here are some of the best places to get your dues done in no time flat, from payment centers to payment apps.
People know Bayad Centers well; before the advent of in-app and online transactions, this is where they go to get most of their bills paid. But now, Bayad Center has put its services online and in-app.
By just downloading the Bayad Center Online app and signing up, users can withdraw from their online banking accounts and use it as an online “wallet.”
After topping up the wallets, they can make payments for their bills, insurance, and loans. They can even use the app to send and receive remittances, purchase phone load, buy airline tickets, and even get medical reimbursement.
Bancnet is also familiar to Filipinos—several Philippine banks process payments through it. Now, account holders from participating banks can pay their bills directly through Bancnet’s system. All it takes is creating a BancNet Online account with your participating bank.
After selecting a user ID and password and filling out any personal and contact information needed, the account can be confirmed.
Once complete, they can simply go to the Bills Payment page and select which of their accounts and which bills to pay. These include credit cards and utilities.
As one of the Philippines’ currently best-known online payment portals, GCash is now widely used by many stores, companies, and payment portals. Users can either download the GCash app or sign up online.
All they need to do is to enter their mobile phone number and the Authentication Code, along with their details and a personal MPIN for their transactions.
Once confirmed, customers can then top up their GCash account and use it to top up their phone load, send money, shop online, and of course, pay their bills.
They’re partnered with a myriad of billers that include telcos, Meralco, banks, water utilities, healthcare, and even cable companies. Customers can even use it to pay government-related bills!
This is another popular digital wallet for Filipinos to pay bills, send money, and buy phone load. The signup process is similar to others: people can download the app and sign up there or do so online.
They’ll need you to register a username, password, personal pin, and personal details. They will also require a valid ID to verify your identity.
Account-holders can use Coins.PH to pay bills for utilities, internet, government, cable, credit cards, insurance, and even school tuition fees. They now also handle cryptocurrency payments.
PayMaya is essentially a virtual card that customers can use for digital transactions of all varieties. All it takes to sign up is to download the app on a smartphone, enter your details and a valid ID, and wait for a verification code.
Once confirmed, users can link their physical cards (or top it up with money like a digital wallet) to the PayMaya account and pay from there. Users can pay for plane tickets, credit cards, internet, charities, utilities, government bills, healthcare and insurance, and even their real estate, loans, and tuition fees.
CLiQQ is best known as 7-Eleven’s reward program that is also capable of doing more. Signing up is extremely easy; just download the app, fill in your information, or use your mobile number. You can also use your Facebook account to sign up instead.
While you can get a card instantly from any 7-Eleven store, you can also just use the barcode found in the app itself upon signing up. To use its CLiQQ wallet feature, you can put money into the wallet by simply paying for it in any 7-Eleven branch.
Once you have money in it, you can use the cash for purchases, connect it with PayMaya, GCash, and Coins.PH to withdraw some money from them and pay bills.
The Pay Bills feature lets you pay for utilities, phone load, credit cards, airlines, cable, government bills, insurance, internet, tuition, game app purchases, and even transportation (toll fees).
Though many consider it a means to pay for their shopping on the wildly popular e-commerce platform, the Lazada Wallet can pay a slew of billers. It’s available for activation to anyone with a Lazada account.
However, it will require ID verification for the cash-in that lets you take money out of its over-the-counter outlets (such as 7-Eleven), credit or debit cards, or bank accounts.
The Lazada Wallet can buy prepaid phone loads, donate to charity, and pay utility bills.
Jumping onto the online payment trend is the country’s most dominant electric company, Meralco. The feature is primarily to digitize the company’s processes (applying for new services, reporting outages, inquiries, and more).
Still, customers can also use it to view your Meralco bill and pay it via online banking from anywhere.
To sign up, all it takes is to choose a username, enter some personal details, and your Meralco service ID number, along with the total kilowatt-hours of your most recent bill. It’s also possible to sign up through Facebook and Google Accounts.
Most of the Philippines’ major banks now offer online banking services and have integrated bills payment options in their respective apps.
To use these apps, you’ll need a bank account in the company and authorization or enrollment of an online banking account.
- Security Bank: Can be used to pay for care services, charities, country clubs, school tuition, banks and insurance (even to other banks), food suppliers, government bills, real estate, transportation and travel, and utilities.
- BPI: Can be used to pay over 600 merchants in banks, charities, tuition, utilities, insurance, travel, and more. Users can select up to 99 of their most-used billers to make things even simpler.
- BDO: This app will need you to access your account and enroll companies or billers in your account so you can pay your bills online. You’ll have to go to the “enrollment” section of the app or website and fill out the details of the biller and submit them.
Like the other big banks, there are hundreds of available billers across different fields that you can use BDO to pay for. They recently introduced BDO Pay, their new mobile wallet, which acts similarly to PayMaya and other wallet options. The best part is you won’t have to cash in for it as it connects straight from the user’s BDO account.
- Unionbank: You don’t need to enroll the bills for over 150 billers in Unionbank, as they are typically listed directly. The app also enables you to record “favorite” billers so you can choose what you usually pay for more conveniently. Again, like the other banks, bills payment for multitudes of utility, travel, banks, and other companies can be paid for this way.
- Landbank: The Link.bizPortal enables Landbank account holders to pay for their government and private company dues to participating companies directly from their Landbank accounts. Again, customers can pay similar to other banks, government bills, utilities, and more in this manner. They are currently integrating GCash use with it as well.
- OCTO: International customers with a CIMB VISA account can use OCTO, their specialized wallet app, to pay for their bills. While the service is primarily based in Vietnam, Philippine account holders can also use them to pay for utilities, telecommunications, government bills, credit cards, etc. account holders can also use them to channel payments through Dragonpay, GCash, and 7-Eleven.
- PNB: Finally, PNB also offers online banking services to their account holders. Just like the other central banks, bill payment can be accessed through the “Pay Bills” section of their site or app, with hundreds of merchants across different fields, as well as connectivity to other payment wallets and charities.
Mind your Money: Safety Reminders for Online Bills Payment
While banks and finance apps usually employ the highest data encryption possible for their services, it still pays to be safe. Keep these reminders at the forefront of your every use:
- Check where you’re paying from. Are you on the official site or the official mobile app? Plenty of phishing tactics masquerade as “official” web pages. It’s always best to make sure you are on the actual bank’s website or app when paying bills or transferring money.
- Make sure you have strong connectivity. The last thing you want is unreliable internet while making a large payment. Ensure you’re in a private, secure, and strong wifi connection when paying your bills, so you don’t get interruptions and end up with payment errors. Never use public wifi or network as others may intercept your personal banking data.
- Always use a strong password. Don’t make it “password” or “12345,” not even your birthday. Think of strong password practices when trying to choose a password or an MPIN for your transactions. Easy to remember for you, but something no one else would figure out. Use a mix of words and numbers to make them even stronger.
- Constantly monitor your banking activity. Make it a habit to check your account once a day or stay well-updated on your account balance and recent transactions. If you see anything suspicious, such as an unauthorized payment you didn’t make to an unfamiliar account or biller, report it immediately.
- Pay early, not just on time. Don’t be a buzzer-beater on those bills! Instead of waiting on the very last deadline, pay it a day or earlier than due. It helps keep the bills from piling up and makes sure you don’t get your utilities cut off midway.
Have you made use of online payment or banking channels for your bills? Which of them have you used most frequently? Do you have a favorite digital wallet? Let us know in the comments below!