When you go shopping or casual dining and you just see ‘GCash payment accepted here‘ displays, you feel a sense of relief because you know that you can pay your purchases and bills anytime you run out of cash.
If worst comes to worst, you can also easily make a bank transfer to your e-wallet even without your physical debit card or ask a close friend to do you a little favor.
Many business establishments these days, from supermarkets and restaurants to wet market shops and even sari-sari stores, have started adopting digital technologies and accepting e-wallet payments for store purchases.
While there is no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has catalyzed fast adoption, a cashless society fueled by digital solutions is just the future.
Electronic wallets (e-wallets), also called digital wallets, are financial transaction applications that run on connected devices over an internet connection. Mobile wallets, being a subset, work on mobile devices and smartphones.
Over the past years, e-wallets have increased in popularity and use among Filipinos and have been embedded in daily financial life. While there are already several options to choose from, these three just lead the race:
- GCash (50M+ Google Play Downloads) is a mobile wallet backed by Mynt (a joint venture among Ant Group, Ayala Group of Companies, and Globe Group). It is connected to the user’s mobile number that offers various services such as real-time fund transfers to other e-wallets and bank accounts, bill payments, prepaid loan purchases, remittances and PayPal withdrawals, loans and credit lines, and QR payments, among others.
- Maya (10M+ Google Play Downloads) (formerly PayMaya, now powered by Maya Philippines, Inc., and Maya Bank, Inc.) is now an all-in-one mobile banking app. It combines a feature-rich e-wallet and a progressive digital banking experience and allows money remittance, bill payments, and other payment conveniences, especially with a Maya prepaid credit card linked to it.
- CoinsPH (5M+ Google Play Downloads) (recently acquired by Joffre Capital) is the Philippines’ top crypto wallet. Aside from cryptocurrency trading and investing, it also allows various digital transactions such as fund transfers, beep cards, prepaid mobile, game credit purchases, bill payments, and many others.
If you are an entrepreneur who runs a brick-and-mortar shop, and you haven’t integrated any digital technologies yet in your business operations, then you might be missing some big opportunities.
Anyway, it’s not yet late to jump on the bandwagon and put a simple notice that you’re now accepting e-wallet payments.
Before you do that, here are eighteen (18) pros and cons of accepting GCash and other e-wallet payments for store purchases:
9 Advantages (Pros) of Accepting e-Wallet Payments for Store Purchases
 It offers an additional payment channel. In public marketplaces and neighborhood sari-sari stores, cash remains the most trusted and accepted means of payment.
If you are a local store owner, and you’re accepting GCash and other e-wallet payments for purchases, you are most likely welcoming a new generation of customers who have leaped forward toward the digital future.
More payment channels mean more opportunities for the customers to avail your goods and services right on the spot and for you as the merchant, more ways to cater to the customers’ diversified needs and preferences.
 It is free and convenient. It eliminates the need for the customers to carry hard cash, thus giving them the financial capacity to pay their purchases anytime and anywhere as long as they get connected to the internet and get access to their digital wallets.
It also eliminates the hassle for them and you as the merchant to do the math, count the bills and the coins, and ensure that all bank denominations are not counterfeits.
While digital wallet transfers are generally perceived as convenient, you may even save more time by accepting payments via quick response (QR) codes. You just need to display them alongside the scanning instructions at your store counter.
 It reduces cart abandonment and leads to more sales. Customers may just trim down orders or abandon their carts when they realize that they don’t have enough cash in their wallets or their available payment method is not accepted.
By accepting e-wallet payments, you’re giving them the chance to shop worry-free, make the most out of their money, and pay at a big convenience.
You provide your customers with a good shopping experience and make more sales. When this happens, happy customers will get back to your store, and most likely, you will make more store patrons.
 It is contactless and promotes health safety. The popularity of e-wallet payments is no doubt sped up by the need for contactless payments as people get more and more health safety conscious even in the post-pandemic era.
Paper bills and coins are known to carry germs and pathogens. They can even transport a live flu virus for over two weeks and can be carriers of diseases that may harm you and your family.
While there may be no standard way to sanitize money, you can try doing it your way with commonly available disinfectants. But it might not be easy and much more complicated than that.
 It does not require any change. If you’re running a sari-sari store in the neighborhood, keeping and controlling small bills and coins for payment change can be a real struggle.
In many cases, it’s the customers who are left problematic about their large bills, especially during opening hours. You, as the merchant, on the other hand, may not have any other choice but to accept that you just miss another customer and another sale.
With e-wallets, you can accept exact payments even with decimals, which also means that you can employ better pricing strategies for your merchandise.
 It lowers the risks of loss and inside theft. However hands-on you are in the operations of your small business, you still don’t have all eyes to oversee everything, and there are just many chances of losing money and sales, big and small, especially in still traditional settings.
Your store employees may not be honest at all times and may sneak some hundreds from the register. Your customers may anytime be given the wrong or more change than necessary. Coins may just roll down and no longer be retrieved.
It may be far from reality for now, but just imagine that all your store customers are paying via e-wallets. All sales then are intact in the app. You can monitor all the transactions, and you will have complete control over all financial aspects.
 It offers digital security for both merchants and customers. Digital wallets rely on proven security measures such as two-factor authentication and PINs that are commonly generated and used once.
On the part of the paying customers, there’s almost a zero chance to make unauthorized and wrong fund transfers even with the asterisks-anonymized identities of recipients.
Both senders and receivers also receive real-time SMS notifications of successful and unsuccessful transactions that provide an additional sense of trust and relief.
 It makes daily tracking of sales easier. Sales tracking at the end of the day is important as it provides clear data about how the business is going on and what further strategies need to employ.
In many sari-sari stores, business operators simply rely on hard cash accumulated in the register without making an inventory of actual items sold. Replenishing of stocks is primarily based on just the observed quantities and the perceived demand.
With daily sales accrued in the e-wallet app, there is an assurance that no single centavo is missed. Plus, there is no need to count the bills and coins over and over again until getting satisfied and confident about the total amount.
 It may offer rewards and other financial possibilities. GCash and other e-wallets run promotions from time to time. If actively used, you may enjoy cashback, discount coupons, and other perks. These may be small but better than nothing.
You may even enjoy quick cash loans such as with GCredit, GLoan, and GGives which you may use to patch some operating expenses or scale up a little your business.
GCredit, for example, is based on GScore, which can be compared with a credit score that you can build through time and may provide you with better borrowing opportunities.
9 Disadvantages (Cons) of Accepting e-Wallet Payments for Store Purchases
 It is dependent on internet connection and devices. Unless you provide the connection, your customers still cannot make e-wallet payments without their devices connected to the internet.
Equally, there are still many places in the Philippines, especially in rural areas, where internet connection remains poor, and the idea of accepting e-wallet payments may not work at all.
People from all walks of life in the cities and even the suburbs, however, keep and enjoy a strong and stable mobile internet connection at all times, and many online transactions have been part of their daily life.
 It may add some wait time for processing payments. E-wallet payments may be hampered by some technical and non-technical factors, and these may result in customers experiencing longer wait times at the counter.
If payment details and QR codes are not readily available, dictating, writing, and repeating the mobile numbers may just add unwanted wait time, especially if there is already a long line of customers.
Other stores that have adopted e-wallet payment systems usually keep a clear display of QR codes and necessary details. It’s also a good practice to add instructions and policies on such displays.
 It may not be available all the time. E-wallets are digital technologies that just need system maintenance and improvements from time to time. These may result in occasional downtimes that may prevent transactions from pushing through or the apps themselves from being accessible.
Although these instances usually take minutes or a few hours, still the inaccessibility to digital funds may impact the current purchasing power of the customers and may just result in a loss of sales.
System errors may also happen and may leave you and the customers indecisive about how to proceed. You, as the merchant, should always prepare for these and employ measures.
 It still comes with security concerns. While e-wallet payments are mostly reliable and secure, there are still risks that must be addressed at various levels.
For instance, the disclosure and exposure of personal and other sensitive details to random store customers may compromise your security, and you may end up with text message phishing.
It is also worth mentioning that the adoption of e-wallet payments has given birth to various scams and fraud. GCash cash-in and other OTP-related transactions are usually used as the frontlines of these deceptive schemes.
 It may require bank transfers that come with extra fees. Fund transfers within the same e-wallet brand may be completely free of service charges, but not across different e-wallets and bank accounts.
Your transactions may not just be contained within the confines of your e-wallet. You might need to pay some suppliers to replenish your stocks via bank transfers or in cash.
Your multiple transactions and transfers may just cost you more than you expect. For example, a GCash to bank account transfer charges PHP15 per transaction. It may be small, but not really if you don’t carefully plan your transfers.
 It requires multiple e-wallets to cater to all customers. Adopting one e-wallet payment in your small brick-and-mortar business is a big leap towards digitalization, but you will still miss catering to those who use other e-wallets.
If you have the capacity and the means to adopt and manage multiple e-wallets at the same time, it’s a big business opportunity, but it might lead to complicated financial management and payment of more fees.
Anyway, many people these days maintain more than one e-wallet. But it’s good to make some observations first about what e-wallets most of your customers actively use.
 It may have transaction limits. You normally receive unlimited cash payments daily, but some e-wallets impose transaction limits, mostly depending on the account status.
These limits serve as a quota for how much you can send and receive, and it may be a little disappointing if you’re using your e-wallets as the primary payment channel and you’re dealing with a huge volume of transactions.
For example, a monthly incoming limit (cashing in or receiving money to a wallet) for a fully verified GCash account may just be PHP100,000, but way higher for GCash Plus or Enterprise accounts.
 It may be difficult to separate personal and business transactions. If you’re using your personal e-wallet to receive customer payments, and you also have many personal transactions on the side, then it’s additional work doing some math and accounting.
Yes, it is possible to apply for a business account across different e-wallet providers, but you must be able to produce business documents such as a DTI certificate of registration, business permits, valid IDs, and others almost the same when opening a business account with a bank.
Such is almost impossible for microbusiness owners and members of the informal economy, but it surely provides more formality, convenience, and other benefits exclusive to business account holders.
 It requires consolidation of digital accounts and sales. Many small business owners do not have formal degrees in business and accounting. Anyway, basic math will do to find out the total sales and profits at the end of each day.
Accepting multiple e-wallet payments and cash for purchases might just have made such tasks more complex and complicated, but still manageable.
Instead of just counting bills and coins, e-wallet sales, minus the personal transactions, must also be included in the computations.
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