Paypal Subscription Payments now available
Last Friday, I was able to meet up and have a short meeting with Paypal’s Head of Asia Merchant Services based in Singapore and discuss some important developments both in the state of local e-commerce and the role Paypal wants to play in the market.
One of the more useful features of Paypal is the subscription or recurring payments which automatically bill people on a regular basis. This feature wasn’t available for Philippine Paypal accounts until recently.
As the Philippines is an emerging market, there’s huge potential here that’s why Paypal have been diligently pushing their services in the country. Below is a quick run down of the issues we talked about:
- Size of the market. Only about 1 million Filipinos have credit cards in the Philippines. That’s less than 2% of the total population. There’s a huge gap that Paypal wants to fill in. Their primary goal is to tap the merchants to offer Paypal payments as an alternative to credit cards.
- The Subscription & Recurring Payments. A month or two ago, this feature wasn’t available for Philippine Paypal users (my US Paypal account had it). It was a feature I really wanted so I don’t have to send billing requests for my advertisers every end of the month. This can be access via the Merchant Tools tab inside your Paypal account.
- Paypal Plus Credit Card by Mastercard. I was told this is only available if you have a Paypal account in the US, Australia or UK. This is only offered to highly saturated markets where credit card penetration and total market volume is very high.
- Withdrawal Limits. There are no withdrawal limits when you withdraw thru your bank but there’s a $500 maximum limit when you withdraw via credit card. The credit card limit is a security measure against potential credit card fraud.
- Additional Bank Fees. We’re already familiar on how much Paypal charges for withdrawal transactions (EFT). That’s $5 for each credit card withdrawal and Php50 for bank withdrawals less than Php7,000. Beyond that, Paypal has no control whatsoever and it looks like banks also add charges for these EFTs which is usually Php200. We’re not sure if these are clearing charges or bank wire charges.
- Effective Foreign Exchange Rates. It’s pretty obvious that when doing withdrawals the existing FOREX rates are below the current rates. That’s actually a 2% exchange rate fee — this is where the banks make money off of dealing with Paypal.
- Local Currency. I’ve heard some people were interested to have a Peso Paypal currency in their account. Philippine Paypal accounts are still in US Dollars. There are a ton of paperworks and requirements that are needed to be done in order to do this.
- Philippine Paypal Office. They have people working off of their Hong Kong office. A Philippine office is still nowhere in sight as there’s no immediate need for it now.
The number of Paypal users in the Philippines has grown a lot since Paypal offered bank withdrawals but they cannot comment on the exact number as corporate policy. We talked about several other things that I can’t share publicly though. Still, it’s nice to learn Paypal has its eyes focused on the Philippine market.
Update: I have two Paypal accounts. One 5-year old US Paypal and a 2-year old Philippine account. Comments below indicate that the Subscription fetaure has been there for months already though mine did not show it until recently (I compared the Philippine account and the US account).