MANILA, Philippines – With limited cards being sold in train stations, commuters can now order beep cards from official online stores—but at a steeper price.
Beep card operator AF Payments Incorporated (AFPI) announced that the stored value card is now available through its official Lazada, Shopee, and Facebook Marketplace online stores. The price online is P188, excluding shipping fees.
Beep cards sold at train stations cost P100 and come with an initial load balance of P70. Those purchased through the online stores do not come with any load balance.
“It must be noted that beep™ cards sold at rail stations are priced lower as they are subsidized by AFPI and the Philippine Government under a signed concession agreement in 2016. Commuters are therefore advised that since online stores and other non-rail sectors are not covered by the agreement, prices differ,” AFPI clarified in a statement.
The cards sold online may similarly be topped up through the beep app, train teller booths, and other partner merchants. Commuters can use the beep card in LRT1, LRT2, MRT3, select buses, modern PUVs, Cebu Ferries, and select retail merchants.
Beep card shortage
The launch of the beep operator’s online stores aims to address both the shortage of beep cards and protect customers from scams and fraudulent cards.
“We have previously reallocated stocks to the rails and continuously work with our partners to address public demand for beep™ cards. At the same time, we also need to cater to customers who use our payment solution off-rails and, more importantly, address the increasing cases of fraud among unofficial online sellers, thus the launch of our stores in top e-commerce platforms Lazada, Shopee, and Facebook Marketplace,” said Sharon Fong, chief commercial officer of AFPI.
In August, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) raised alarm bells of a beep card shortage, with AFPI failing to deliver much-needed cards just as in-person classes and office work began to resume. The beep operator said that a global shortage in chips was holding back the production of the cards.
On top of this, some 400,000 beep cards in circulation are expected to expire soon, according to DOTr officials at a Senate finance subcommittee hearing.
The DOTr said that should there be a shortage in beep cards, the department still has a significant supply of single-journey tickets. The DOTr has also asked commuters who have more than one beep card to share them with family and friends. – Rappler.com