AF Payments’ beep™ sells over 5-M cards, makes 1-B in rail transactions

JUST with the three lines of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT), AFP Payments, Inc.’s contact-less beep™ card had already achieved its first one billion transactions as of August 2018.

It also had sold over five million cards across the Philippines as it now also being used for payments in retail stores and in some buses in Mindanao.

Remember that beep™ started off its tap-and-go implementation in the LRT-1, LRT-2, and MRT-3 in 2015, replacing the magnetic stripe fare card.

The difference between the two card types is that the magnetic stripe card was only good to use on a particular line; the beep card can be used seamlessly on all the three rail lines as well as in buses, and retail outlets, etc.

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They are part of the expansion of its uses to public utility vehicles (PUVs), schools, and communities.

But the AF Payments leadership is not resting on its laurels after registering the two milestones in 2018: five million cards sold and Php1 billion in transactions.

SDN — Scitech and Digital News had a chance to speak with Peter Maher, president and CEO of AF Payments during a briefing for members of the media in Makati City.

“Well, it’s really extending the uses of beep card outside of the rails. So, it’s going to be more bus lines, more jeepney lines. We are very excited with the modernization program for the jeep, we hope to be a big part of that,” he said.

Maher said it is their wish the coming new year to see more beep cards being used in the jeepneys and the city buses.

“We are already very well established in the train line, and we would like to see that in other parts of the transport sector,” he added.

He acknowledged that his company was already some discussions with the government, emphasizing that, “we fully comply with the (transportation) modernization rules. We are the AFCS (automated fare collection systems) provider.”

In the modernization program of the government, all the new operators, he said, are required to meet and comply with certain government guidelines. “So, if they (operators) meet with us, we can help them comply with the government’s regulations,” he said.

AF Payments - Science and Digital News

Peter Maher, AF Payments, Inc. president/CEO, with Agnes Padilla, marketing head. (EKU)

It was his luck, Maher recalled, that the winning consortium for the AFCS provider for the LRT lines invited him to help. And the rest is history, as they say.

Now, close to the end of 2018, AF Payments’s tap-and-go payment system beep™ card is ending on a high note, having completed a series of partnerships and improved services, to make payments more convenient to the commuting public.

beep™ is widely used today to pay for transport services. It can be used in point-to-point (P2P) buses plying key cities in the metro, and recently, in public utility vehicles such as modern jeepneys and, e-trikes deployed in the Walled City of Intramuros, Manila.

The beep system has recently been introduced in Mindanao via Husky Tours, which operates a fleet of buses between General Santos and Cotabato.

It was also this year, at 8-8-18 (August 8, 2018), when beep card hit its 1 billionth transaction in the light rail network (LRT 1, LRT 2, MRT 3) since inception in 2015, which demonstrated the reliability and robustness of the system.

“Transportation has been and will continue to be our core strength. The government’s focus on developing the industry for the benefit of commuters nationwide encourages us to to work harder to support Filipino commuters and transport operators,” said Peter Maher, president and CEO of AF Payments, Inc.

In the world of retail, beep™ is now accepted at establishments such as Auntie Anne’s,
Wendy’s, Binalot, Worship Generation and retail kiosks in train stations like Siomai House and Mr. Donut.

In a bid to develop cashless communities, beep™ collaborated with Property Company of
Friends (PRO-FRIENDS) to offer beep™-enabled resident identification cards for access to
transportation to and from and within its master-planned communities in Cavite — Lancaster New City and Bellefort Estates — and entry to their key facilities.

In 2018, St. Jude Catholic School became the first beep-integrated educational institution with beep-enabled ID cards that allow their students to purchase cash-free from merchants inside the campus and avail of student discounts when they ride public buses and PUVs (public utility vehicles) with beep acceptance.

To support this growing network and make reloading more convenient, beep™ card partnered with and EON by Unionbank to offer mobile app and Over-the-air (OTA) reloading, and China Bank for the first ever ATM reloading service.

This year also saw the launch of the beep™ app, which allows cardholders to track their
transactions and check load balance, a feature that has been requested by digital savvy users.

“2018 has been a productive year for beep™ as it allowed us to form strategic alliances and establish more innovative ways to extend our service to a wider public. We look forward to expanding our network through 2019,” Maher said.

Over 5 million beep cards are currently in the market. These cards are used to pay for fare at elevated trains and select transportation, toll fees, as well as for purchases at select retail outlets. More information about beep™ is available at its website and official social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  (AF Payments/EKU)

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