Pag-IBIG taps Citi for online payment

The Home Development Mutual Fund otherwise known as Pag-IBIG Fund has tied up with Citibank to further expand its online payment services to its members using the convenience of their credit cards at an affordable convenience fee.

Pag-IBIG Fund chief executive officer Atty. Darlene Marie B. Berberabe said at yesterday's launch of its newest online payment facility that they are targeting the professionals and the self-employed, including the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to avail of this convenient payment service.

The launch of this payment facility is also in time for the recent passage of the Kasambahay Law, which requires employers to pay the mandatory contributions for househelps with government agencies such as Pag-IBIG, PhilHealth and Social Security System. An employer is required to put up a househelp contribution whose salary is below P5,000. For P5,000 and above, the employee has to contribute P100.

"Employers can use their Visa or MasterCard credit cards in settling their househelp's monthly savings, as well as the their counterpart shares so the former can also enjoy the benefits of being a Pag-IBIG member," Berberabe said.

The service can be availed at an affordable convenience pay of P3.60 per P100 contribution as against $6 dollar average remittance fee for an OFW for $2.5 monthly contribution.

Pag-IBIG has 12.6 million, including 3 million OFWs, members. So far, online payments account for less than percent for employees and 2 percent for employers.

Berberabe expressed hope that 20 percent out of the 500,000 self-employed members would avail of this online payment service within the year.

At present, Pag-IBIG has similar arrangements with Metrobank but this is only for their account holders while Lank Bank of the Philippines allows online contribution for employers.

Pag-IBIG has also one million members that are using the Cash Cards for short-term loan disbursements like calamity loans. Berberabe said that Pag-IBIG aims to compel members to avail of the Cash Cards in one or two years to avoid issuing checks for short-term loans and other benefits.

Citibank consumer business manager Cristina Tan said they have issued 6 million plastics or credit cards in the domestic market of which 20 to 30 percent are self-employed.

"So the opportunity is quite huge," Tan said.

Berberabe stressed the need to wean its members from insisting on going to its branches just to ensure they get the official receipt because they still doubt the security for online transactions.

"Your online transactions with us are secure. It is as good as the hard copy or the manual transactions," Berberabe assured its members.

The online credit card payment facility can be accessed thru the Pag-IBIG website's Online Payment Facility, under E-Services. Member payors should have on hand not just their credit card number but also their Pag-IBIG membership identification (MID) number or transaction number.

Once online, the member inputs his/her MID number and MS, confirms payment details, then chooses which credit card type to use in paying. The member next fills-in the credit card details and clicks the "Pay" button. A message will be sent to Citi's host to seek approval. If the transaction is successful, a receipt will be sent to the member. If unsuccessful, the member will be notified.

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