Imported devices could get more expensive thanks to customs duty hike

iPhones to get even costlier!



The Indian government has decided to hike customs duty on imported mobile phones from 15 to 20 percent in a move designed to protect local manufacturing. The higher tariffs take effect from April 1.

The move, which will make imported devices more expensive, follows less than two months after the country raised the import duty from 10 percent to 15 percent. The new hike comes amid the nations annual Budget Session when the coming year’s finances are declared. This move will affect Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Pixel lineups the most. Luckily, we shouldn’t be seeing any price hike on the iPhone SE because it is assembled in India.

Apple has been trying to assemble its devices in India but has always found itself in some bureaucratic hurdle. Apple has been negotiating with the Indian government for lower tariffs on certain components, but the increased duties are still not in its favor.

The increase on import duties is designed to promote local manufacturing. The moves taken by the government to ensure local sourcing have started paying off though; multiple companies like Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo, OPPO, and BlackBerry have started making and assembling phones in India to avoid the high import duty and also further gain the benefits the government has to offer under the “Make in India” scheme. The fact that the phones are sourced in India is often a point of emphasis for these companies and another marketing point to the consumer.

A senior industry executive told the Economic Times that smartphone makers may decide to absorb a part of the duty increase because Apple had increased iPhone prices by an average 3.5 percent in December after the government had raised import duties by five percent.

Last year, Apple supplier Wistron started producing iPhone SE models in India.

Around 75 percent of all cellphones sold in India were assembled in the country in 2017, said Tarun Pathak, an analyst at Counterpoint Research to CNN.


Mastercard is phasing out magnetic strips

Starting 2024



Image source: Mastercard

Swiping is one of the most recognizable actions for consumers. For decades, buyers swiped their credit cards through a card reader to buy their favorite goods. However, technology has progressed us far beyond the world of simple swipes. Now, we have chips and wireless payment options. To further reflect this massive change, Msatercard is officially phasing out magnetic strips in a few years’ time. Swiping will soon be a thing of the past.

As the company announced, Mastercard will transition to only chip cards starting in 2024. The transition will start in regions where chips are already the norm. New cards will no longer comes with a magnetic strip.

Other regions, where chips aren’t widely used yet, will start their transitions in 2027. By 2029, Mastercard will no longer make new cards with the strip. By 2033, the company will have completely transitioned away from magnetic strips.

Of course, with technology the way it is, everyone will have likely transitioned away from the magnetic strip far earlier than 2033. Today, buyers are already embracing other contactless payment options especially during the pandemic. Everyone can now attach their bank and payment details on their smartphone or wearable.

Soon, swiping will only be a thing for Tinder daters.

SEE ALSO: Mastercard will start accepting cryptocurrencies this year

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ShopeePay: 6 reasons why you need to switch now

Ditch Cash on Delivery already




Image by GadgetMatch

With the steady popularity of e-commerce sites especially this pandemic, more and more people prefer shopping online rather than risking themselves to go out. Shopee is one of those platforms that provides plethora of items ranging from clothing to home supplies to gadgets, dry food even. Now, they also have Shopee Pay (or SPay).

Due to the continuous rise of coronavirus cases, physical contact should be avoided at all times. ShopeePay is the company’s solution for an easier way of paying the items you buy from their site. It might just be your ultimate contacless payment method!


Image by GadgetMatch

I admit that I’m an avid Shopee buyer and user. Adding so many products in the cart and buying from their app even made me a “Platinum” member — well at least for the first six months of 2021. In all of my Shopee transactions, 100 percent were paid through ShopeePay. And with that, I present you six (6) reasons why you should ditch Cash on Delivery and switch your payment method to ShopeePay right away.

1. PhP 1 deals


Image by GadgetMatch

Reason number one is specially reserved for one-peso deals. Through much exploration, you’ll enjoy lots of deals (especially fast food vouchers) as low as one peso. Other deals in the roster have major slashed prices for you to enjoy. This is an exclusive feature for ShopeePay and you can’t use other means of payment for this.

2. Worry-free item checking


Image by GadgetMatch

The amount of users using Cash on Delivery (CoD) (not to be confused with the game Call of Duty) are still rampant over those who pay cashless. While giving and receiving parcels aren’t exempt from being risky, money is still an immediate medium for the virus to spread from one person to another.

By activating and using ShopeePay in your future purchases, not only did you prevent the spread of infection, it’s also a better way for you to release your payment without the rider waiting for you to check if the items you’ve received are in good condition. Worry-free, indeed.

3. Almost instantaneous refund process

Image by GadgetMatch

In instances where the item delivered to you either looks bad, broken, or faulty at worse, you can request for a replacement of the item or a refund right away. If you chose refund, Shopee will bring back your money within 15 minutes to an hour utmost. This is something you can’t have right away if you paid through other payment channels — especially if it’s CoD.

Other than that, you’ll also have the huge peace of mind just in case a seller suddenly cancels an existing order you’ve purchased. Shopee automatically processes the refund and returns the value of the item you paid back to your ShopeePay wallet.

4. More access to free shipping and cashback vouchers

Some items have shipping fees that cost more than the product itself. One of the biggest reasons why most users keep buying from Shopee (including me) are the Free Shipping Fee vouchers. These help lower the total amount of goods or items we buy inside the platform.

Image by GadgetMatch

Non-ShopeePay accounts still enjoy this but if you’re a ShopeePay user, you’ll get more than just the maximum PhP 55-vouchers. In my case, I was able to obtain 100 pesos less voucher in shipping.

Other than that, there are also cashback vouchers that are helpful in deducting the cost of the item/s you want to buy. Non-ShopeePay users also get this but ShopeePay users get up cashbacks with no minimum capping more often. Citing my experience, I recently ordered a PhP 10,000-worth action camera. Shopee gave me a 10% cashback voucher with no coins capping just because I’m a ShopeePay user. In return, I was able to get 1000 coins straight to my Shopee coin chest!

5. Pay bills and other services within minutes

Other than having the ability to pay cashless for your Shopee orders, you can also pay electricity, water, and internet bills as well as other services through Shopee. This is possible if you activate your ShopeePay right away.

Image by GadgetMatch

Not only will you avoid long queue lines in payment centers, you’ll also be at peace as this method can be done within minutes — whether you’re still in bed, sitting on the sofa, or even dropping the deuce inside the bathroom.

As mentioned earlier, the cashback vouchers are still helpful here. You can lower the amount of your bills by using the existing coins you got from your orders through those cashback vouchers. In return, Shopee will also give you a cashback voucher for paying your bills in the app; a win-win situation.

6. Secure AF

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Using ShopeePay isn’t only limited to top-up (cash-in). Using Shopee’s e-wallet service* also gives sellers the ability to securely withdraw (cash-out) the money they’ve earned from the items  that are sold through the platform. Other than that, it also offers secure and hassle-free transfers to and from Shopee users in just a matter of taps.

ShopeePay has also gotten more secure with the use of PIN or biometric authentication (via fingerprint or face recognition). If you think about it, it’s more secure than lending out money to someone if ever you’re too busy to pay your Shopee orders that need to be paid via CoD. More so, other cashless payment methods don’t offer the same amount of authentication just in case processing of online payment through online bank transfers failed halfway.

Bonus: Buy now, SPayLater

Image by GadgetMatch

Shopee Philippines launched this new feature called “SPayLater”. Qualified buyers have options between buy now and pay later or through installment loans. As of the moment, this is only available to certain users (like me).

While this isn’t a ShopeePay-exclusive, it will be more convenient to use Shopee’s own payment method if ever you’ve decided to buy any item through SPayLater payment method. This means fast and seamless payments on the long run without worrying about additional interest charges if you suddenly forgot to pay through other payment methods.

To know more, just visit What is SPayLater.

Is it easy to activate ShopeePay?

Yes! It’s super quick and easy. All you have to do is input your phone number and a code will be sent right away. After you enter the verification code, you just have to fill-in necessary details before ShopeePay gets activated.

Image by GadgetMatch

In order to be verified, you need to submit a photo of you with a government-issued ID. Verified ShopeePay accounts have the advantage of sending money that non-verified users can’t do. Sellers will mostly benefit the verified badge more as they can withdraw (cash-out) the money they’ve earned from selling to their assigned bank account/s.

For more information, you can visit Shopee’s official microsites here:
How to Activate ShopeePay | How do I verify my ShopeePay account

How can I add money to ShopeePay then?

Once you’ve activated your ShopeePay, there are numerous ways on how to add money to your account (also referred as “top-up”).

The most common cash-in method is through e-wallet services such as GCash, and (unfortunately, Paymaya isn’t included in the list). You can also link your debit card from any bank with a minimum top-up balance of PhP 250.

Over-the-counter bank transactions from BPI, BDO, UnionBank, Metrobank, RCBC, Landbank, PNB, Robinsons Bank, China Bank, and UCPB are all supported as well. If you specifically have a BPI bank account, you can connect it through BPI online by signing-in your account inside the Shopee app.

Image by GadgetMatch

For non-bank/e-wallet users, payment centers are also supported:

  • 7-Eleven’s CLiQQ kiosks
  • ECpay (Shopwise, Petron, All Day, Ministop)
  • Bayad Center
  • SM Bills
  • LBC Bills Payment
  • M Lhuillier
  • Cebuana Lhuillier
  • Palawan Pawnshop
  • RD Pawnshop

You should take into consideration that there’s a minimum ShopeePay balance of PhP 50.00 before you can proceed with one of these payments. Meanwhile, cash-in via TouchPay machines (found in Alfamart, Mercury Drug, Shell, Ayala Malls) require an existing PhP 20.00 ShopeePay balance before you can use such top-up method.

If you have CoD orders but wishes to pay through ShopeePay, it’s also possible by generating or scanning a QR Payment Code. However, please do note that this feature is only applicable to orders delivered via Shopee Xpress (Standard Delivery), not orders shipped via J&T Express, Ninjavan, or GoGo Xpress.

*Disclaimer per ShopeePay Terms of Service: “The ShopeePay E-Wallet is not a deposit account and therefore, it is not covered by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (“PDIC”) and it does not earn interest. However, it is subject to the rules and regulations of the BSP and the Anti-Money Laundering Act (“AMLA”), as amended.”

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Payoneer rebrands ahead of public listing

A universal brand for a universal future of commerce



Payoneer, the commerce technology company powering payments and growth for the new global economy, announced today a rebrand to reflect its current position in the market and its vision to be the world’s go-to partner for digital commerce everywhere. The new brand marks another chapter in the fintech pioneer’s evolution from young disrupter to industry leader, with plans to begin trading on Nasdaq under the ticker PAYO later this month at an enterprise value of approximately $3.3 billion at closing.

A 2005 “pre-fintech fintech”, Payoneer was born on the cusp of the global shift to digital, borderless commerce. Now, the business is very much at the heart of it. Payoneer’s vast networked ecosystem offers millions of businesses – from emerging-market freelancers to the marketplaces and platforms redefining how the world operates – the technology, connections and confidence to participate and flourish in the new global economy.

“This is the era of Open Commerce,” said Scott Galit, CEO of Payoneer, “a time when the entire world operates on a single digital plane, and anyone, from anywhere, has the opportunity to realize their potential. This is the reality we have always been building towards. As we enter the public markets and look ahead, our new brand is designed to keep driving the business forward while keeping us true to our purpose: to imagine, engineer and inspire a universal future for commerce, together with our millions of customers and partners all over the world.”

Payoneer’s new brand color is “universal”, reflecting its promise to be for everyone everywhere. The new symbol is a circle, illustrating its journey to becoming a single destination, unified, and connected in more places than anyone else.

The brand itself was developed in partnership with global brand company venturethree. Creative Director Jason Lowings said of the project, “There are many players in the busy payments and financial services space, but Payoneer is unique in the breadth, depth and integrity of their global ecosystems. It is a truly universal business, with an optimistic global perspective, uniting marketplaces, systems, businesses and entrepreneurs, everywhere in the world. To express and celebrate this, the new symbol of Payoneer reflects the universe of opportunities available through their many products, services and platforms.”

This is a press release from Payoneer

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