The unprecedented times brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic brought us difficulty in moving money around. In a country like the Philippines with limited technology, services like Cash Agad has given us all the opportunity to bounce back in these hard times. Read more about it.
Cash Agad: Quick Cash for Filipinos
The Covid-19 pandemic has severely affected families and communities in the Philippines. Moreover, the threat is not only because of the fear over COVID-19 but also because of how the pandemic has disrupted livelihood.
Many businesses have shut down, causing widespread loss of jobs. For those who still have some savings left could not easily access their cash in banks and ATMs because public transportation is limited. The shutdown during the lockdown and quarantine periods have really limited our mobility.
Despite all that, many Filipinos were still fortunate that there are Cash Agad partner agents in their communities. These agents are ready to provide banking services even amidst the pandemic.
While Cash Agad partner agents were also affected by the restrictions of the community quarantine, they were still able to help their respective barangays. And now, they are bouncing back and continuing with their recovery in order to further build their businesses.
Who are the Cash Agad Agents?
The Cash Agad partner agents network is comprised of small to medium business owners scattered all over Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
They are operating the Cash Agad service in their respective communities.
This service aims to provide ready access to cash for distant communities, especially those who are not reached by public transportation.
These include barangays located in challenging terrain like mountains, hilly areas, or islands only reachable by boat.
Let’s face it, there are still places where setting up a building, bank branch, or even an ATM machine would be impractical. Cash Agad is the solution provided by BDO Unibank to unbanked or financially underserved communities.
A community shop owner is usually tapped to be Cash Agad partner agent. The business might be a salon, drugstore, hardware, convenience store, or local cafe.
Since such a business owner has long been part of the locality, he or she is a trusted figure in the community. Residents will find it easier to trust the business owner with their money-related transactions.
Once the shop owner becomes a Cash Agad partner, he or she is given a POS terminal that is capable of accepting transactions using any Philippine-issued ATM card. Debit or credit cards are both accepted. BDO Unibank is the one that runs the Cash Agad service.
But the POS terminal accepts ATM cards from all Philippine banks.
Cash Agad and LGUs
A very big advantage of using Cash Agad is that it does not depend on banking hours. As long as the Cash Agad partner shop is open, it can accept transactions.
However, this was modified or limited when the pandemic struck and community quarantines were imposed. Local officials had to set schedules and limit operating hours for Cash Agad transactions in order to follow IATF protocols. These are all protocols designed to keep customers safe and prevent disease transmission.
LGUs also depended on Cash Agad to deliver government’s financial aid to those in need. For example, the beneficiaries of 4Ps withdraw their monthly cash assistance from Cash Agad.
Even the IPs or members of the indigenous people’s communities are able to get their financial aid through Cash Agad. All these are possible because of the cooperation between LGUs and Cash Agad partner agents.
LGU employees, policemen, and teachers in the community likewise depend on Cash Agad for salary withdrawals. Private employees and families of overseas Filipinos them now access salaries and remittances from Cash Agad, too.
These services were a great help to residents who were unable to travel due to lockdowns and checkpoints. Their mobility had been restricted within their own or the nearby barangays. Going to the nearby ATM is no longer possible.
Helping Local Businesses
According to Lorna Taruc, owner of Jan Pau convenience store, Cash Agad is a big help to their community. She is a Cash Agad partner agent at San Simon, Pampanga.
“It’s so much more convenient and easier for people here to go to my store and withdraw their cash. They no longer need to travel so far, especially during the lockdown when it was difficult to find transportation. Apart from this, I had more customers buying from my store.”
Meanwhile, Roselyn Abela said that many residents were afraid to leave their town during the community quarantine because of the many COVID-19 cases in the city. She is based in Pitogo, Bohol.
This city is quite far from the mainland. A person traveling there would need to ride a habal-habal (passenger motorcycle) then cross the sea by boat to another island.
In the island, a person would have to ride another habal-habal to reach the city. It takes at least half a day to travel back and forth to Pitogo. A round trip costs around 500 pesos.
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“When the community quarantine was imposed, people were thankful that I have Cash Agad at my store. They withdraw their cash here and then afterwards, they buy what they need at home. That’s why my sales also increased,”, said Roselyn.
Jim Nasol, Head of BDO Agency Banking (Cash Agad), said they had been planning to have Cash Agad for a long time. This is because they want to help rural areas across the country to be more progressive.
“Many Filipinos are smart and hardworking. They dream of better livelihood. But they are being held back because of their lack of access to cash and capital. There are a lot of Filipinos who don’t have enough money because withdrawing already takes a lot of time and expense.”
“Our Cash Agad partner agents are the key to broadening financial systems. We see that in places like Pitogo, financial inclusion can go a long way in making lives easier for many Filipinos,” he explained.
Arnold Katipunan, Head of Sales of Cash Agad in BDO, said that financial inclusion and access to money is very important this time. A lot of people and businesses need to rise up from the dampening effects of the crisis, he said. Ultimately, their recovery will bring new life to the national economy.
The number of Cash Agad partner agents in the country continue to increase.
For more information about Cash Agad:
- Go to the BDO site: http://www.bdo.com.ph/cash-agad
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org