AF Payments Inc. (AFPI), the consortium of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and Ayala Corp. that provides contactless payment solutions in the Philippines through its integrated product and service offerings, has partnered with FamilyMart, the second-largest chain of 24-hour convenience stores in the world and the fastest-growing here in the country, for the expanded use of its beep card.

At the launch, held on December 7 at FamilyMart’s flagship branch in Glorietta 3 in Makati City, the companies’ executives said AFPI’s beep cards are now accepted at 80 FamilyMart branches. The beep card is a tap-and-go payment system that can be purchased for P20, is reloadable and valid for four years.

As a result of this partnership, customers can now use their beep cards to purchase food, beverage or whatever they may need at any FamilyMart branch. The collaboration also marks AFPI’s first move out of transportation and into retail.

“This is it, the wait is over! Now, you can save time fumbling in your bags or pockets for change because FamilyMart has started allowing cashless transactions through the beep card. It’s perfect for Filipinos and millennials on the go, who rely mostly on convenience stores for quick purchases,” said Tere Ancheta, spokesman for AFPI.

Manuel C. Alberto, president and general manager of Philippine Family Mart CVS Inc., echoed Ancheta’s enthusiasm. He stressed on the importance and convenience for beep cardholders to be able to load up their cards and avoid the long queues at train stations.

“We are thrilled to be part of the beep-card network as its first-ever retail partner. We constantly look for ways to offer our customers more convenience through our products and services, and I’m sure they will love this new addition to FamilyMart. Now, they can enjoy their FamilyMart favorites better through cashless transactions. Being able to load your beep card in our stores will make it so much easier and hassle-free for the general public,” Alberto said.

For Peter Maher, AFPI president and CEO, the use of the beep card as a payment option for convenience stores sits parallel with the company’s expansion plans.

“We want to build a loading network and the most appropriate place to do that is [through] convenience stores,” Maher said. He added that, although they have big plans on the use of beep cards on buses, there are also a lot of possibilities for the advancement of the beep card in the retail sector.

“Small-value transactions is our game. Anything where the transaction amount is quite small and the speed of transaction is important…. Average transaction size in all convenience stores is P100. So we’re pretty much low value. That’s the kind of transaction we’re looking for. We’re not a credit card, so we stay out of high-value transactions. But smaller-value transactions for speed is important,” Maher said.

For the coming year, he noted the company plans to make a big expansion on buses and hopes to expand their loading network by adding more convenience stores. Its tap-and-go payment system, the beep card, is available for use in all three elevated railways (Light Rail Transit 1, LRT 2 and Metro Rail Transit 3), select bus lines and Cavitex. The beep card is reloadable up to P10,000, and is valid for four years.

FamilyMart currently has 100 stores and targets to have 500 stores in the next five years, with priority to expand in markets where there are a lot of urbanizational development. For 2017, Alberto said the company is also prioritizing its IT system, which is very critical for the expansion of their store network.

13 December 2016
By Issa Quirante