In a positive development for under-banked consumers in the Philippines, coins.ph has launched a new Bitcoin e-commerce payment service. Through coins.ph, MetroDeal and CashCashPinoy, two of the largest e-commerce sites in the Philippines, will be accepting Bitcoins as payment.
The partnership will let 95 million Filipinos who don’t have credit cards to pay with Bitcoins at above mentioned sites, and receive goods and services from a network of over 10,000 brick and mortar merchants.
Founded in 2013 by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Ron Hose and Runar Petursson, coins.ph allows anyone to buy, sell and accept the cryptocurrency through bank deposits into Bitcoin accounts, letting those people who lack access to credit cards or banking accounts participate in the global Bitcoin economy.
“Less than five per cent of people in SEA have payment cards. The low penetration of payment cards means that most e-commerce transactions are still settled by cash, and require additional infrastructure on behalf of the e-commerce company, in addition to inherently being more cumbersome. Coins.ph addresses both of these pain-points by allowing merchants to seamlessly accept Bitcoins for order fulfillment,” said Hose.
He noted that both the companies have cited lower transaction fees and increased customer reach as strong motivators to accept Bitcoins. “The merchant fees for accepting card payments in Asia have been traditionally high due to fraud and chargebacks, often up to six per cent,” he said, “Because Bitcoin transactions are non reversible, the fraud/chargeback element is eliminated, allowing us to charge significantly lower fees.”
The recent warning by the Philippine central bank (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, or BSP) with regards to Bitcoin’s risks does not seem to dent the confidence of coins.ph in providing Bitcoin payment service to all. In fact, Hose welcomes the announcement, “I actually thought it was very informed. There are still a lot of people who are not informed about Bitcoin, and it’s important that they be made aware of the risks involved.”
Ultimately, according to Hose, the long-term vision of coins.ph is to improve the lives of millions of underbanked consumers in emerging markets. “There is a very strong case for electronic currency in emerging markets, where the existing banking and payments infrastructure serves a small fraction of the population,” he said.
“We founded coins.ph because we see Bitcoin opening a huge opportunity to provide cheaper, better financial services for millions of people in Asia. We’re super excited about what the future holds for Bitcoin and emerging markets,” concluded Hose.