From sales from our own business its been about the same except with the added benefit of being able to monitor what we have sold to give us an idea of which are our bigger sellers. We did have problems at peak times but that seems to have improved lately as it was taking time to load onto the system which often had people coming back 5 minutes later asking if they had been loaded.
Besides that sold a couple of dealer kits and the initial teething problems the new dealers had are the same ones we went through as initially its all a new system. But within a full day everyone seemed to go quiet and emailing to check how things were the businesses are up and running. Is it a big money spinner? it all depends how far you want to take it as the opportunity to get more people onboard is pretty huge at the same time many people just want a card for the household as any household spending P1,000 combined in phone load or other things like prepaid satellite,PLDT or internet will benefit from saving P100 every month just on personal consumption. The company has geared the card more towards a consumer scheme for the end users currently classified as “Retailers” which for me suits most people as I never seen so much telephone load consumption until I came to the Philippines. Is there scope for business expansion? There is always negativity about business in the Philippines and saturation but what I find with most things is things have a lifecycle for most people for example take an internet cafe. An American near me put one where there was another 6 competing cafe’s difference is he has his pension within 6 months there was only his still standing and he not only increased his business but obviously took a lot of their sales as well.
Cell phone loading is similar because the dreaded “credit” goes on for many people which eventually causes business failure because people in the Philippines have a habit of not paying their debts. I often hear about the 5/6 lending being a terrible business because of the interest being as high as 20% in a month. In reality though Filipino’s that use it generally are not allowed credit anywhere else and often its because they are blacklisted because they “don’t pay their debts!”. Same families operate in India and the price is not 20% but 5% because the market is more stable. Often people are shooting themselves in the foot without realising. The fact is the load business is a no credit business, doesn’t matter if people will say they will pay you on pay day or next week just tell them ok I will load you when you pay me. Your not a loan business and giving them free credit means you take all the risk without any benefits. In fact your giving them a 0% interest loan for 10% of the sale is it worth it?
So far so good on the load business and it has a lot of other uses people don’t think about. For example transferring money to the provinces buy a few cards you can give relatives the cards to sell load. If they are getting remittances this means you can tell them you will load the E-wallet from yours this allows you to transfer money for free and in return they just sell the load for cash in their pocket. In the provinces this is a major help as getting load is often difficult and could be an extra money spinner for relatives due to being remote.