RT Cunningham

Difficulties in Making Online Payments in the Philippines

It shouldn’t be difficult to make online payments in the Philippines, but it is. I don’t know how to describe it.

I think the best way to describe it is to tell you about the difficulties I’ve had, even though I rarely have difficulties. In fact, I probably have issues less than once every few years. The problem I have is getting the issues resolved.

Bill Payments Online are Almost Nonexistent

I pay all my bills once a month because I only get paid once a month. The electric, water and cable TV companies don’t have online payments set up. The DSL provider’s online service says it takes debit cards but it doesn’t.

My payday routine is to take money from one bank, deposit my car payment into another, deposit some money into yet another to pay for web hosting and then pay the other bills through either a service at the SM mall or at the businesses directly. Luckily, other people do all the running around for me (other than the banks). Making monthly payments shouldn’t be this difficult.

I guess I’m spoiled by how easy it was to make bill payments when I was in the United States. I never went to the bank and I never went to the businesses to pay bills. My mortgage payment was automatic and all I had to do was type in numbers for everything else when banking online. I rarely needed cash for anything.

Web Hosting Payments

Something happened recently that reminded me of past difficulties. I deposited money at UnionBank of the Philippines at the beginning of this month, knowing that my hosting account would be empty by the end of this month. At the time, the teller asked me if I’d like to order a new VISA card. The one I had would no longer work in ATMs due to some new embedded chip requirement.

I told the teller I’d do it later since I never use the card in an ATM anyway. What I wasn’t told is that the card was canceled. I found that out when I tried to use it to top off my account at DigitalOcean. Because I have no other debit cards with money on them (I have no credit cards), I had to ask my younger son to front me some money through PayPal.

I pay my web hosting in dollars, for web hosting in the United States. There are a couple of decent hosting providers in the Philippines but I won’t use them. I had some bad experiences several years ago.

Online Payments

I’ll use more online services based in the Philippines when the Philippines decides to join the rest of the world in the 21st century. I use several services in the United States and I can use a debit card for all of them. I can’t use a debit card for any service I currently use in the Philippines.

PLDT is a large corporation. Smart Communications and Sun Cellular both fall under its umbrella. When I used Smart for my cell phone service, I could make payments with my debit card online. When I switched to Sun, I couldn’t. I can’t do it with PLDT for my DSL either.

I wish I could avoid the banks. It’s unfortunate that I can’t do anything with them except deposit and withdraw money from them every payday.


April 28, 2018
Personal Finance

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