If you’ve ever fumbled for loose change when making a purchase or paying the toll road fee, then you will appreciate the convenience of the Sweep card. This reloadable stored value card was introduced earlier this year, but it was launched at Bizu in Greenbelt 2 only last month.
Guests who attended the launch saw firsthand how the card, which uses Radio Frequency Identification, works. At the end of the event, we tapped our personalized cards on the restaurant’s portable terminals and “paid” for our lunch. Two receipts were printed, one from the restaurant listing what we had ordered, and the other from Sweep showing the amount paid and the card’s remaining balance.
This allows cardholders to monitor their expenses, making the card perfect for parents who want to teach their older children how to budget their weekly allowance. It also lets parents keep tabs on what their children are buying.
“Our real goal is to eliminate cash in our daily transactions,” said Cecile L. Ang of Autosweep Post Corp., a subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation. The card, priced at P100, is available at participating Petron stations, National Book Store branches, and 7-Eleven branches. Each card is valid for three years, has no annual fee and does not require a maintaining balance.
Ang, the self-effacing daughter of businessman Ramon Ang, told Inquirer Lifestyle that the Sweep card will appeal to “yuppies who already do not carry around much cash but are familiar with debit and credit cards; homeowners who can teach their household helpers to use the card to make quick supermarket or store purchases; and motorists who regularly use the SLEx (South Luzon Expressway), Skyway and Star Tollways.” Starting this month, motorists can tap their Sweep cards at the terminals at the expressways’ cash lanes.
She also likened it to Hong Kong’s Octopus card, a reusable stored value smart card launched in 1997 that can be used to make electronic payments. Other similar smart card systems include the Korean Upass and London’s Oyster card.
Cardholders are encouraged to register their cards online (www.sweeponline.com) to access the full range of benefits, including the use of a SweepSafe “wallet” that prevents others from using your card. By registering online, cardholders will also receive an increased cash limit of P30,000 instead of P5,000, and the chance to transfer money from one Sweep card to another at no cost.
Once registered, cards can be reloaded over the counter for a minimal fee at National Book Store, Petron, San Miguel Food Avenue, Powerbooks and Seaoil or online through Security Bank’s bills payments facility.
“Roughly 70 percent of Filipinos are ‘unbanked’ because they don’t have the documents or IDs required to open a bank account. Now all they need is one ID card. More importantly, we are empowering Filipinos,” Ang said.
“The Sweep card simplifies the payment system. Unlike a credit card or ATM card, there’s no need to open a bank account, sign forms, submit documents, or even remember a PIN to be able to use and enjoy the benefits of a Sweep card,” Aurora T. Calderon, Autosweep Post Corp. president, said in a statement.
Aside from the establishments and service providers mentioned, the list of Sweep card’s merchant partners include Dunkin’ Donuts, Shakey’s, BreadTalk and Royce’ chocolates, among others.