Uber deal seen boosting PLDT e-commerce concern (Philippines Daily Inquirer)

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., revealing details of its long-term strategy with ride-sharing app Uber, said it aimed to bolster its e-commerce business through the new payment methods for Uber users.

At present, Uber transactions in the Philippines are made through credit cards, which cover between 3 and 4 percent of the country’s total population of about 100 million people.

The agreement with PLDT enables Uber passengers to pay their fares using PLDT’s Smart e-money platform and their ATM cards, Ernesto Alberto, PLDT executive vice-president and ePLDT president, said in a briefing.

Alberto said the Smart e-money platform had about two million users while ATM holders in the Philippines number between 22 million and 24 million people.

We are working on the Smart money as well as ATMs. This is the natural progression in terms of expanding the footprint, he said.

He did not comment on the timing but added that the two platforms would expand the base to about 20 to 25 percent of the population.

Uber itself is looking at other payment options in the Philippines, including cash-based transactions, said Mike Brown, Uber regional general manager, Southeast Asia and Australia, New Zealand.

Cash payments would allow Uber to compete with rivals GrabCar and regular taxi services more broadly.

We recently rolled out cash in Vietnam as a payment option with excellent results, Brown said.

PLDT this week announced a multi-year strategic agreement with Uber. The partnership initially involves providing Uber cars with PLDT and Smart’s Internet services, which would be made available to passengers for free.