In ancient times, people bartered goods. The invention of money drastically changed how exchanges were made and made life generally easier. For many centuries, money has played a very important role. Now, acquiring goods and services is getting even more convenient. With credit and debit cards, people can dispense with the use of cash.
San Miguel Corp. (SMC), the food, beverage and packaging company, launched a new kind of card in early 2014—the Sweep Card. This card is pre-loaded with a certain amount of money, which can be used to pay for goods and services at any of its merchant partners. It is like a debit card, but carries more features.
The reloadable stored value card uses Radio Frequency Identification technology. It stores money in a chip and operates using contactless-enabled point-of-sale terminals. One has just to tap the card at the machine. Sweep is capable of online and offline payment transactions.
The progress of the usage of electronic payment systems has been slow in the Philippines. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas estimates only 1 percent of all payment transactions done in a month is done through electronic means. The bulk is through check and cash payments.
SMC is optimistic that the Philippines will catch on, aiming for a cashless society. The more convenient Sweep card is hoped to change people’s perception of cards.
“The Sweep card simplifies the payment system. Unlike a credit card or an ATM card, there’s no need to open a bank account, sign any forms, submit documentation, or even remember a PIN to be able to use and enjoy the benefits of a Sweep card. You just buy a Sweep card at National Bookstore or at select Petron and 7-Eleven outlets for only P100, and you’re good to go. Load it up, then tap to use,” said Aurora T. Calderon, president of Autosweep Post Corp.
Additionally, the Sweep card, which is valid for three years, has no annual fee and no maintaining balance requirement. People can reload their Sweep card over the counter for a fee at National Book Store, Petron, San Miguel Food Avenue, Powerbooks and SeaOil or online through Security Bank’s bills payment facility. They can load any amount up to P5,000 which can be used immediately. However, cash limit of the card will be increased to P30,000 if one registers it on the Sweep Web site.
Sweep card holders are encouraged to register their cards online so that they can access more benefits. Aside from getting an increased cash limit, registered card holders can monitor balance and transaction history online (up to three months back); pay for bills or reload mobile phones online; recover money or points if card is reported lost or stolen; transfer money from one Sweep Card to another at no cost; pay for SLEX, Skyway and STAR Tollways toll fees; withdraw money from any ATM; earn loyalty points from select merchant partners; and keep money safe with the SweepSafe wallet.
The SweepSafe wallet is a virtual wallet to help cardholders manage their money and give it additional security. The Card Wallet, which has a cash limit of P5,000, is used for everyday purchases and activated immediately upon first use of the Sweep Card. On the other hand, the Safe Wallet, which has the P30,000 cash limit, is activated upon online registration and serves as a source wallet for online transactions. The ATM Wallet allows cardholders to withdraw money in their Sweep account from any ATM.
|Merchants are also given the option to release customized card designs. Regardless of design, co-branded cards are accepted at all Sweep merchant partners.|
Right now, SMC is aggressive in enjoining as many merchants as possible to partner with them. The bulk of their partner merchants are food and dining companies, more than 60 of them. These include Chatime, California Pizza Kitchen, IHOP Restaurant, P.F. Chang’s, Mad for Garlic, Gyu-Kaku, Morelli’s Gelato, Krispy Kreme, Jamba Juice, Max’s Restaurant, Bubba Gump, Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen, San Mig Food Avenue, Kenny Rogers Roasters, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Figaro Coffee, Crave Burger, Wham! Burgers, Yoshinoya, Banana Leaf, Qoola, Mom and Tina’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Mister Kabab, Foodparks by Raintree, Food Arcade by Raintree, Food Odyssey, Food Patio@PBCom, Food and Art Galerie, Early Bird Breakfast Club, Potato Corner, Hungry Juan, Royce, Republiq, Shakey’s, Bread Talk, Kopi Roti, Toast Box, McDonald’s (SM Megamall and Buendia branches only), Juju Eats, 2nd’s, Bangus Specialty Restaurant, Mey Lin, Tokyo Café, Stackers Burger Café, Kogi Bulgogi, Woo Galbi, Parmigiano, Burger Company, Wafu, Tong Yang, Taste of Kebab, Ba Noi’s, Black Canyon Coffee, Detoxify Bar, Murray and D’vine, Plaza Café, Thaicoon, Zigla, Bizu Patisserie, Café Sant Antonio, Lia’s Cakes and Army Navy.
Additionally, card holders can pay for their fuel with their Sweep cards at any Petron stations, while book lovers can use their cards at National Book Store and Powerbooks. Island Spa and City Delivery are also partner merchants. The most recent development is the partnership with SLEX, Skyway and STAR Tollways. Sweep Card holders can pay toll fees in cash lanes by using their cards instead of cash.
A Sweep mobile application is in development. The mobile app, which can be downloaded for free, will have all the features of the Web site and the Sweep merchant finder. This will enable users to locate partner merchants based on their current location.
Visit www.sweepcashcard.com for more information.
Promos for Sweep users
At Yoshinoya. Get a free Sweep Card for a minimum single receipt of P300. Pay with Sweep and enjoy a free tiramisu for a minimum spend of P300 until Dec. 15.
At Rue Bourbon. Get a free Sweep Card for a minimum single receipt of P1,000. Pay with Sweep and enjoy a free Warm-up Shot for every P1,000 spent until Jan. 29, 2015
At Crave Burger. Get a free Sweep Card for a minimum single receipt of P300. Pay with Sweep and enjoy a free house blend drink for a minimum spend of P300 until Jan. 29, 2015.
At Dunkin’ Donuts. Get a free Sweep Card with every purchase of a Snowman Tumbler. Pay with Sweep and enjoy free brewed coffee for a minimum single receipt of P100 until Dec. 31.