GCash has been touted as the country’s no.1 mobile wallet app and it is no hype. I have long been a GCash user but its usefulness to me had been underscored so much during the pandemic. Now, it seems that I have different kinds of transactions every day that it has become an integral part of my lifestyle. Read more.
How the Pandemic Changed Our Lifestyle
Being an introvert, I enjoy staying at home. Ordering online and having things delivered are most enjoyable to me. But of course, I do enjoy the freedom of choice, like going out when I want to and hitting the supermarkets as needed.
But the pandemic took away the freedom of choice. With the mandatory lockdowns for safety, the online orders and deliveries became the norm. It was the safer option to prevent the spread of the dreaded coronavirus.
Contactless Payments with GCash
To make the transactions safer, I opted for contactless payments, which was made possible by GCash. It was my preferred mode of payment not only because I don’t want to touch physical cash and interact with other people, but also because small online vendors who do not have credit card options can still serve my orders. I can easily and securely top up my account and can go merrily shopping.
The contactless payments also worked to my advantage, as there were people who would ask me to do odd jobs during the pandemic and pay for my services virtually. Thus, GCash works both ways for me.
Here are more ways that GCash has changed my lifestyle and made it more convenient.
The New Mode of Gifting
GCash is not merely for shopping. It also became a wonderful way to bless family and friends. Special occasions came and went during the pandemic, from birthdays to Christmas, and even Chinese New Year. Sending and receiving cash gifts became a regular thing. It was also a nice touch that during Chinese New Year, I can send ang paos (red envelopes), too. Yes, the app went through the effort of setting that up to be relevant to the occasion and to send “good luck” to the recipient.
In another light, I used to hold giveaways for my loyal readers back then. To thank them, I would prepare gift boxes, raffle them off, and send them through courier. However, the pandemic changed all the dynamics. Instead, I send tokens in the form of GCash. Readers appreciate it more because they have the option to spend the virtual cash on their needs. Plus, I can give out more because I don’t have to spend on shipping fees. It’s a win-win situation.
The New Approach to Sympathy
Over the course of the pandemic, we had been very careful, adhering to safety protocols in order to protect our family. But somehow, the Delta variant of COVID-19 found its way into our home and took the lives of my in-laws. Two in one day—the most devastating day of our lives.
Due to the prevalence of the deadly Delta strain at that time, the remains of our beloved parents were quietly cremated on the same day. No more wake or public mourning. There were just the three of us present to witness the departure of their earthly bodies. It was the saddest and most heartbreaking day for our family. We could do nothing for them. No goodbyes… not even a final touch. My husband and I just held each other and cried as our parents’ covered remains entered the furnace.
Since my in-laws were well-loved in the community, love poured out from all over. But at the time of their death, our relatives and friends could not come over to pay their respects because of travel restrictions as well as the fear of contracting the infection.
To show sympathy, they called or texted while some sent money through GCash. While we are in Bacolod City, a friend who lives in Cagayan de Oro was able to send money in a blink. Some interment suppliers were also paid in the same way. Looking back, it was a good time to have some money in my account for sudden expenses.
I believe that this wasn’t just true for us. When Covid-19 hit families of friends, there was one common denominator—the hospital bills were horrifying, even to the point of leaving the bereaved family in so much debt. GCash meant a way for family, friends, or even strangers to extend help big or small. From P50 to P50,000, amounts were sent electronically, securely, and instantaneously. It was and is still being used to make donations or extend help to individuals, families, or groups that need help the most.
The Ticket to Shopping
Now that the restrictions have been eased and our lifestyle dynamics are quickly getting restored, more and more people have become used to using GCash so much that even sellers with physical stores have evolved. When I visit bazaars, I could safely say that most vendors accept GCash payments, which has proved to be so much easier and more convenient for me. Of course, I exercise restraint in deference to our family budget, but with GCash, it is much easier to make sudden purchases without having to go to the bank and actually withdraw cash.
The Convenient Center to Pay
There are so many bills that you can pay using GCash. But one particular regular payment that I dread to make is my SSS payments. Honestly, I don’t want to go out and queue in the bank just to make my monthly contributions to social security.
But since SSS has also gone online, I can just generate my Payment Reference Number (PRN) and use it to pay my quarterly contributions through GCash. The best thing is, this service is FREE! I totally enjoy this convenience!
The Way to Save
Did you know that GCash is not just for spending, paying bills, or helping? You can actually use GCash to save money or even invest! There’s a feature in the app called GSave. I have connected my GCash account with CIMB (online bank) and it rakes a much higher interest rate than that of other local banks. Plus, it gets compounded monthly!
Moving the funds to CIMB actually helped me to save because I don’t actually get to see that amount on the GCash app until I really click on the link that leads me to my CIMB account.
Other avenues to explore on the financial growth side are the GInsure and GInvest, but I have yet to discover them.
The Avenue to Help Causes
Many NGOs have made GCash accounts dedicated to their advocacy campaigns in order to make it easier for similar-minded people to extend support.
During the pandemic, I have sent support to a couple of groups handling community pantries, and recently, I have pledged a monthly contribution to a local outreach group.
On a bigger scale, we can also help save the environment, which is a gargantuan advocacy that GCash has taken on. Through GForest, subscribers can help plant more trees in the country by donating or sharing their rewards points.
GCash vs. Credit Card vs. Cash
What makes GCash different or even better than credit cards or handling cold cash?
For starters, I have to admit that it is harder to control spending with a credit card because of the insane limits on the card. Plus, there’s the psychology of seeing things you get as opposed to actually “seeing” the payments done through a card.
GCash, on the other hand, only lets you spend the cash on hand, which is your actual balance. This way, overspending may be controlled (unless you go out of your way to file a personal loan).
Yet, the app is still safer than carrying bills, as one may lose his or her wallet. It can also be risky, sometimes, to withdraw money from AT machines, especially if you are handling large amounts.
GCash wants to make e-banking more accessible and easier to understand by the Filipino masses. They have an ongoing campaign to reach as many market vendors, sari-sari store owners, and even tricycle drivers in order to make GCash a payment option. That way, they won’t lose a sale among those that do not have cash on hand.
We actually tried this with a tricycle driver in our community and it was awesome because sometimes, I do not have enough change in my wallet for a commute.
So Much More Power is in Your Hands
Actually, a user of GCash wields so much power at their fingertips just by using this app. You can make things happen.
But like Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
The choice is ours—to spend, save, or help. GCash has a plethora of options. Make the best choices.