024A6: Inconvenient Payment Solutions

Metro Manila Community Quarantine - Day 154

My credit is set to expire in a few months and the replacement card arrived without incident for once this week. Since I activated the new card, the old card was automatically disabled, which naturally got me worried about different payment solutions tied to my card.

My BPO history got me to appreciate things like automatic bill payment options and I don't mind tying different utilities and other regular payments to a credit card since I pay the card off like a debit card usually. And I get into a bit of a panic whenever I need to update my card information since the limited automatic bill payment options in this country are not exactly the fastest to move and get processed efficiently.

Over the years, I've learned to shift more and more of these sorts of payments to my PayPal account whenever possible, since I can tie multiple funding sources to that platform and always ensure that one of them is active. But that isn't the case for local billers, so I'm left with some of my insurance payments and my Globe mobile phone bill.

I had kind of assumed that I would need to arrange to meet with my insurance agent to get my payment details updated since that's what happened the last time my card needed to be changed, but thankfully their customer service had an email process I could complete. So that got settled rather quickly, much to my relief.

As modern as Globe prides itself to be, getting my credit card information updated has proven to be a process made more painful because of the MECQ lockdown still in effect in Metro Manila. First, they have no online or over-the-phone process for enrolling a new credit card in automatic bill payment. Maybe a good decade ago it was possible to email a form in but now that is no longer the case. And in a period where we're trying to minimize in-person contact, it boggles the mind that they don't have such an option despite how many functions that have shifted to self-service platforms online and over the phone.

The rep who followed up with me claimed that the reason I needed to present my card in person was for security purposes. It's a funny thing to say since it implies that submitting credit card information to them through other channels is risky or that their offline support reps cannot be trusted. And then the MECQ has limited which Globe locations are open, so my only options in BGC are the ones at Market! Market! or SM Aura. But I don't know if I want to go queue there since I've seen the lines that have persisted as such locations, even during GCQ.

So for now I'm going to wait it out and if my next payment cycle comes along, I'll just settle it manually until I feel comfortable enough to find an open Globe location or Globe finally figures out how to accommodate this more efficiently while supporting physical distancing recommendations. This is not the most urgent concern after all - it just means I have to actively remember my mobile phone bill deadlines more than usual.