Since I’ve incorporated minimalist principles into my life, I no longer go shopping as much as I used to. But I’m just a human with needs and wants, so there are times when I really, really have to buy something.
Unlike other people my age, though, I’m not really much of an online shopper. I’m the kind of person who wants to touch and feel a product before I buy it, so I stick mostly to brick-and-mortar shopping. I also don’t have a credit card, so my only experience with online shopping has been with Lazada and Fully Booked — both of which allowed me to pay for my items in cash and in person.
This used to be enough for me but, for several months now, I’ve been wanting to read certain books on minimalism that I couldn’t get here in the Philippines. (Filipino book lovers with no credit cards to their name will understand my plight and know just how frustrating this situation can be). I’ve scoured numerous bookshops here in Cebu but couldn’t find the books I wanted anywhere. I’ve asked Fully Booked if I could order the books from them but was told by their representative that they can’t get the titles for me.
So I had no choice but to take matters into my own hands. Fortunately, a few months ago, I stumbled into a solution: Globe’s GCash Amex.
Before I proceed, I just want to make things clear: I AM NOT AFFILIATED with Globe and the other companies that would be mentioned below and won’t earn anything from mentioning their brands. I’m writing this blog post not to earn money but to help Filipinos like me who want to buy something online.
CREATING MY GCASH AMEX ACCOUNT
Okay, so I learned about GCash Amex when I was on Google and searching for ways to buy products on Amazon without using a credit card. I can’t remember what URL I clicked, but the website mentioned GCash Amex and talked about how easy it was to use.
So I did further research and found this out: GCash Amex is a part of Globe’s GCash service and acts as a virtual credit card. Users won’t receive a physical card, but they can put funds into their GCash Amex account and use it like a regular credit card to buy products on online stores.
I have postpaid and prepaid accounts with Globe and am generally satisfied with their service (apart from their data caps, mysteriously disappearing prepaid loads, etc.), so I decided to give it a try. I didn’t have an existing GCash account account, but Globe’s website said it was fine, so I signed up right away. I guess I was lucky: I signed up on March 31, 2016, which was the last day that Globe was waiving the subscription fee for GCash Amex, so I didn’t have to pay the fee.
After I completed the enrollment, GCash sent me an email that confirmed my registration and gave me my GCash Amex card number details. They also gave me my MyShoppingBox details, which include my username and password and the California address that I should use as my shipping and billing address.
For those who aren’t familiar with it, MyShoppingBox is a logistics company that GCash Amex is affiliated with, and they deliver people’s online purchases from U.S. sites to the Philippines. (I guess you can compare them with Johnny Air Cargo.) All the purchases that you make with your GCash Amex card will automatically be shipped by MyShoppingBox, (although I’ve read somewhere that you also have the option to choose another logistics company). So if I’d buy books on Amazon, for instance, I’d input the MyShoppingBox California address both as my shipping address and billing address, and Amazon will ship my books to it. MyShoppingBox will then ship the books from California to the Philippines.
PUTTING FUNDS INTO MY GCASH AMEX ACCOUNT
I calculated the price of the books that I wanted to buy on Amazon as well as the possible shipping fees that I’d have to pay to MyShoppingBox, and I found out that I had to have around Php3,000 in my account. But I waited for a few months before I put money into my GCash Amex account because 1) I was anxious about putting cash in a service that I haven’t tried and tested yet and 2) I didn’t have enough money in the first place.
But I earned a few extra pesos from my writing gigs and ultimately saved enough cash. Once I had the money, I went to the nearest Globe store, told the clerk that I wanted to put funds into my GCash, and was given a form to fill up. My advice for you is this: make sure to fill out the form with all the necessary details, and don’t forget to write clearly. This is particularly true when you write down the mobile phone number that’s connected to your GCash account. You don’t want your money to go to another person’s account.
Once it was my turn, I gave the cashier the form and my money and was asked to present a valid ID (thankfully I carry one around anywhere I go). But I ran into a little problem: the cashier asked me to check my phone because she sent a message to my mobile number and I had to reply to it with my GCash MPIN. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring the SIM card that my GCash account is tied to (and I couldn’t remember my MPIN, anyway).
The cashier told me that we could still proceed by doing a self-to-peer transaction — which basically like me sending money to another person, although the money would still be placed in my account. Self-to-peer transactions cost a certain amount (while self-to-self transactions are free), so I had to pay another Php60 on top of my Php3,000. All because I forgot to bring my Globe SIM.
So, when you’re ready to put money into your GCash AMEX, here’s my advice: bring a valid ID as well as the SIM that’s tied to your GCash AMEX account. And don’t forget your MPIN, too, since you’ll need to send it to the cashier before she can complete your transaction. If you forget your MPIN, you can dial 2882 to reset it (which I haven’t done yet, TBH).
END OF PART 1
So that’s it! This is how I opened my GCash AMEX account and put money in it. In my next blog post, I’ll discuss how I used my virtual credit card to buy books online. I just want to remind everyone, though: I’m not advocating using GCash AMEX to go on an online shopping spree. In my case, I used it to buy books on minimalism that I have been wanting to read for almost two years. I’m also planning to use it to buy a copy of the Minimalism Film, a documentary about minimalism that’s created by Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn (aka The Minimalists). And I hope that’s what you’ll do, too: use GCash AMEX not to buy items that would end up getting stuck in the back of your closet, but to purchase books, films, and other things that add value and meaning to your life.