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Balikbayan box – a box of happiness filled with canned goods, chocolates, toys, clothes, etc. and sent by overseas Filipino workers to their families back home. Very costly to send and can take months before they arrive. If it arrives, at all.
Let me start by saying that I have such huge respect for overseas Filipino workers. Imagine working in a different country and not seeing your family for years! I don’t think I will ever be strong enough to do that! I remember how much I missed my son when he stayed with his grandparents for 2 weeks a couple of years ago, I cried every night! And our OFWs do not get to see their kids for years! They sacrifice so much just so they can provide for their loved ones and I think it is just right that we hail them as our present-day heroes because that’s what they really are.
Aside from being away from their families, OFWs also face a lot of challenges abroad. From employment issues, work load, and adjusting to culture differences.
Despite all these, our OFWs continue to plod on so they can provide for their family’s needs. They send money every month or send balikbayan boxes because that’s just who we are as Filipinos. We take care of our family despite and in spite of things.
However, the cost of sending remittances on a monthly basis and the exorbitant fees to ship those boxes can be a source of major stress for OFWs. Not to mention the stories of financial mismanagement in the part of the beneficiaries in the Philippines where instead of spending the remittance on food, medicines or clothing, the money is spent on unnecessary gadgets or worse, alcohol and gambling! This can be heart breaking to the sender and leaves the worker abroad without peace of mind.
That is a sad truth about the life of an OFW. Some come home later on, only to find out that they have zero savings or still have debts.
And this is why I think that the best way to send money to the Philippines is to NOT send money at all.
Hear me out first before you call me crazy. Yes, there are instances when the best option is to send cash, but for most occasions, there’s a better alternative to cash remittances or balikbayan boxes. One that’s more transparent and affordable but still gives the OFW an assurance that their family members back home are provided for.
How can OFWs protect their hard-earned money while providing for their family in the Philippines?
BeamAndGo Non-Cash Remittance Service
BeamAndGo is a non-cash remittance service that gives OFWs more control over how their hard-earned money will be spent in the Philippines by allowing them to send gifts certificates to their beneficiaries instead of cash. These GCs can then be used to purchase grocery items, medicines and clothes! You can even send GCs for school supplies and school baon! So there’s really no need to send those huge balikbayan boxes anymore!
You get to save on fees and your family members get WHAT they need and WHEN they need it. No need to wait for months!
Below are some of BeamAndGo’s merchants nationwide.
BeamAndGo Personal Review
I had the opportunity to try their service recently and I have to say that I was impressed by how smoothly things went.
The first thing that I did was to log-in to the website but because I was too lazy to read up on how to use the service, I just took advantage of their chat support to ask for help. I was assisted by Elaine A. who was so patient in explaining how things work.
Her instructions were very clear that I was able to purchase the GCs for my chosen supermarket and pharmacy in a matter of minutes. I immediately received the receipts on my email and confirmation codes on my mobile phone. I also received a call from Elaine a few minutes after the purchase just to check if I got the confirmation codes.
I teach customer service for a living and I have to say, Beam AndGo is doing a great job in this department and I hope they will be consistent about it.
*It is important to enter the correct mobile number of the recipient to avoid additional processing fees!
Also, please note that for the purpose of reviewing the BeamAndGo’s Non-Cash Remittance Service, I sent the GCs to my own number so I can use them to purchase items from merchants local to me.
I chose to get Generika Drugstore GCs because my son’s antihistamine and my mom’s vitamins were running out. I was a little hesitant at first because I was afraid that the lady wouldn’t know what BeamAndGo was but I was pleasantly surprised that she knew about Med Padala and was able assist me with no problem. She did say though that my transaction was her first Med Padala purchase in that branch.
I just showed her the codes that I received via text message.
And in less than 10 minutes, I had all the medicines and vitamins that I needed. Thanks, Generika – Salinas Drive!
Next, we went downtown to redeem the GCs at Gaisano Capital South, Colon. The lady at the Credit & Collections Department was so easy to talk to and was knowledgeable about the BeamAndGo’s service. She just asked me to sign a form and after five minutes or so, I had the GCs in my hand. Easy breezy transaction!
We then went straight to the supermarket at the ground-floor to get our weekly grocery needs.
Side note, Gaisano Capital South has Guyabano extract!
I love taking my daughter grocery shopping with me because it’s our bonding time. She likes to help pick out the items and volunteers to push the cart. I also use it as an opportunity to teach her how to budget.
We were able to get everything that we need for the week plus more because I was able to stretch the budget by taking advantage of on-going in-store promos.
So as you can see, BeamAndGo is such a great alternative to balikbayan boxes or sending cash remittances. Instead of sending canned-goods and chocolates from the US of A (which are 1. so yummy, I have to admit, but 2. available here in the PH anyway), your family can just get fresh fruit and vegetables from a local supermarket using the GCs.
If they need clothing and school supplies, you can always purchase Department Store GCs! Aside from the ones I mentioned above, you can also send GCs for personal items, birthday packages and set of grocery items which can be delivered straight to your family’s doorsteps! Talk about hassle-free service!
BeamAndGo is also perfect even for those who are working in metro cities within the country and regularly sends money to family members in the province.
Aside from the ones I already mentioned above, here are my additional thoughts on the service:
What I love about BeamAndGo:
Convenient– you can place your order online using your computer or mobile phone anytime. There is no need to stand in line at remittance centers.
Growing Partner Merchants – This gives our OFWs a lot of options to choose from depending on what their family needs
Fast – As soon as the GCs are purchased, a notification is immediately sent to the beneficiary and they can redeem the GCs at the chosen partner merchant right away (depending on store hours, of course). No need to wait for months for the balikbayan box to arrive just so bunso can have a new pair of shoes!
Great Customer Service – BeamAndGo and my chosen partner merchants’ customer service were awesome. I did not encounter any issues at all and that was very important to me especially that it was my first time to use their service and had no idea if what I was doing was right.
Transparent – This will give the buyers an assurance that the money they set aside will be used on things which they were intended for.
Payment Options – I like that they have several payment options including “Deposit to a Bank”. I think this will be very helpful to those within the country and would like to send GCs to their family in the province but do not own a credit card.
Here are their payment options:
What I would like to see more of:
More pharmacies as partner merchants. There are instances when the medicine you need is not available in one pharmacy; having more partner drugstores can help ensure that your beneficiary is able to purchase the right medicines.
More gift certificate denominations. Perhaps the option to buy 2 or more PhP100 or PhP200 GCs so that the beneficiaries do not have to spend everything at once. Supermarkets do not give you change if your total purchase is less than the GC amount.
Overall, I highly recommend BeamAndGo as an alternative to sending money to and within the Philippines.
Thoughts? Reactions and recommendations are always welcome! Sound off in the comments below!
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Disclaimer: I received free credits to my BeamAndGo account to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.
A family lifestyle blogger who left her corporate job in Cebu for a slower life in Iligan City, Philippines. Healthline – Best Mom Blogs 2017, ESCooped – Cebu’s Top Family Blogger 2016, Top 10 Blogs Voice Boks Comedy Edition, Bloggys 2015 – Finalist, Family and Relationships Category, featured on BlogHer.com and HumorWriters.org. Jhanis also works as a Freelance Writer/Content Creator and manages a small farm house decor business when she’s not taking naps.