By Daphne J. Magturo | Business World | September 21, 2015

A UNIT of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) yesterday said it is introducing to the Philippine market a payment card that is similar to Hong Kong’s Octopus card, which can be used for commuting as well as online and physical store purchases.

 PLDT is the sister company of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), which teamed up with the Ayala group to bag the P1.72-billion public-private partnership (PPP) deal that will provide a single-ticketing system for the Light Rail Transit Lines 1 and 2 (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) within the year. 

The same tandem won a separate P64.9-billion PPP contract to extend the LRT-1 from Baclaran to Bacoor, Cavite.

“By using the PayMaya Visa card with beep, customers can easily purchase train fare just like a regular beep stored value card and tap it on contactless terminals,” Smart eMoney, Inc., the digital financial innovations arm of PLDT and its subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc., said in a statement on Monday.

“The PayMaya Visa card with beep can be used to swipe for purchases in physical stores and for online shopping, even without a regular credit card.”

The card will be offered in PayMaya activation booths and Smart Padala centers in selected train stations.

“As our group leads in building the physical infrastructure of a modern Philippines, we are also at the forefront in deploying digital and citizen-friendly services,” PLDT and Smart Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan was quoted in the statement as saying.

Introduced last August, PayMaya comes with a mobile application that can be used as a virtual Visa card for online payments, even if the user has no bank account and regardless of his mobile operator. It also has a physical Visa card for purchases in more than 30 million establishments worldwide.

“PayMaya Visa card with beep is similar to the Hong Kong subway and payments Octopus card plus more,” Smart eMoney Managing Director and Co-Chief Operating Officer Benjie S. Fernandez said in the same statement.

The group implemented the Automated Fare Collection System for LRT-1 and 2 last Sept. 20, to be followed by the MRT-3 “in the coming weeks.” 

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld.