Smart and Metropass team upMarch 2007

Leading wireless services provider SMART Communications, Inc. (SMART) has forged a partnership with Metropass Systems, Inc. (Metropass) to jointly develop and implement an electronic payment system for Metrostar Express (MRT-3) commuters through an MRT SMART Money PayPass card.

Under the terms of the partnership, MRT commuters will be able to use the SMART Money PayPass card to electronically pay for their daily transportation costs, eliminating the need to queue in lines to purchase tickets.

Metropass and its business and technology partners will also work in tandem with SMART to pioneer innovative mobile and Internet applications that will leverage on their combined strengths in business processes and technology. This will culminate in a single "contactless" card that will empower people to purchase essential services such as transport, mobile phone reloading, bill payments, and remittances across physical, Internet, and mobile spaces.

"Our partnership with Metropass is very strategic. Through the tie-up, we will be able to bring our innovative services closer to our 25 million subscribers and give them added convenience. Those with relatives working abroad, for example, will be able to claim their remittances at the booths in the MRT station. Reloading of the SMART Money card will also be easier since they can do it at the SMART booths in the stations, too. They can use the SMART Money card not only for transport fare payments, but also as payment tool in stores that accept MasterCard Electronic. It is more secure, since they no longer need to carry too much cash," said SMART president and CEO Napoleon L. Nazareno.

As part of the agreement, Metropass will set-up professionally-run electronic reloading establishments in all MRT stations. These stations will offer the reloading of SMART mobile phones, Internet and other prepaid cards, and will serve as SMART Money and SMART Padala Cash-In and Encashment centers. Metropass will expand the network of reloading stations into other commercial and transportation centers to expand the reach and accessibility of these services to millions of Filipinos.

"Our partnership with SMART will help to improve the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of MRT commuters. We have been developing a comprehensive electronic payment system for the MRT, and the integration of SMART Money PayPass will bring us a step closer in providing the convenience, functionality, and security that commuters deserve. In conjunction with Metropass' technology, people, and processes, we will extend the accessibility and capability of the SMART Money PayPass card across multiple physical, Internet, and mobile channels for all people. A cash card must be more than just cash," said Metropass CEO Edwin P. Hui.

The Metrostar Express, otherwise known as the Metro Rail Transit 3 or MRT-3, is a 16.9-kilometer modern rail system along EDSA, running from North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue, Pasay City. The MRT-3 provides transportation services in Metro Manila to over 450,000 passengers on a daily basis during peak operations.

"The partnership between SMART and Metropass will enable the MRT commuters to travel in a more timely and efficient manner. Always of paramount importance in our minds is the continual improvement of services that we offer our ridership. Whether it's accomplished by adding additional trains, implementing electronic payment, or enabling innovative products, the rider is always first priority, "said Fil-Estate Management, Inc. chairman Robert John L. Sobrepeņa.

The SMART Money card is the world's first secure, re-loadable electronic cash card that can be linked to a mobile phone. Through the card, a SMART user can easily pay bills, transfer funds to another SMART Money card, do balance account checks, change PINs and even lock or unlock the card from the SMART Money menu in the mobile phone. SMART Money won the 2001 3GSM Award for "Most Innovative GSM Wireless Service for Customers. It was also cited as the "Best Product Innovation" award at the MasterCard Marketing Awards in Australia.

Subscribers may reload their SMART Money cards in SMART Wireless Centers, Banco de Oro ATM machines, and partner banks nationwide. They can also withdraw funds from their mobile banking accounts and transfer these to their SMART Money cards. The SMART Money card may also be used to reload a SMART SIM card and pay for purchases in stores which accept Mastercard Electronic.

SMART Padala, meanwhile, is the first international cash remittance service through text. SMART has over 25 million subscribers on its network.

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