Small business owners, and so are those who work for MSMEs were definitely the most affected by the economic disruption all because of this horrific pandemic. The Department of Trade and Industry also said that around 525,000 have closed their businesses that left millions of Filipinos unemployed. 

Even with this unfortunate economic slowdown, Filipinos are known to be resilient and always looking on the brighter side of life. Sprouting and bouncing back a bit slowly but surely and now is showing signs of gradual recovery especially in some of the MSMEs. Meet these striving small business owners namely, Lorna Taruc of San Simon, Pampanga, Roselyn Abela of Pitogo, Bohol, and Krystal Bantic of Quirino Province as they find their way with BDO as Cash Agad Partner Agents.

What it is like to be a Cash Agad Partner Agent?

Krystal Bantic runs a grocery store in her town and she became a Cash Agad Partner Agent last year. According to her, she actually had few customers availing of Cash Agad in her grocery store in the year before the pandemic struck. This was because, at that time, people were used to traveling all the way to Candon City in Ilocos Sur province, which is more than four hours away from Quirino, in order to go to banks and ATMs, enjoy fast food at restaurants, and buy essential goods. 

Krystal Bantic, Cash Agad Partner Agent of Quirino Province
Krystal BanticCash Agad Partner Agent of Quirino Province
"People would make the trip to Candon even though it's quite far because it was a mix of both business and leisure for them. Also, goods are priced lower in Candon because over here in Quirino our shops are simply getting our goods from there as well," said Krystal.

The trip to Candon is quite far and the transport available are passenger vans. It takes more than four hours across 289 kilometers. The fare costs at least 200 pesos and even more if the person was also loading some baggage in the van for the trip. When going to Candon, residents of Quirino would have to allot an entire day and at least four hundred pesos for a two-way trip. They would spend more if they included food expenses. 

The pandemic caused subsequent lockdowns and quarantines which prevented people from leaving Quirino as they were used to. This meant that their usual access to cash (banks and ATMs) and goods in Candon was closed off. But fortunately, Krystal and her Cash Agad kiosk at her grocery store were available. 

"Grabe po, noong nagka-lockdown dito sa amin. None of us could leave. The local government ordered all transportation to stop. No one was allowed to go out. People had nowhere else to go to get needed cash to spend for food and other basic needs. So more and more people come to my store not only to withdraw cash but also to buy essential goods," said Krystal.

Krystal faced her own challenges as a Cash Agad partner agent. She was also covered by the travel ban so she could not easily replenish the cash reserves meant for Cash Agad withdrawals. She was able to solve this by either renting a private vehicle to go to the BDO branch in Candon to get cash or she would get the help of the local government to provide transportation to Candon. After all, Krystal had become a front-liner and essential worker since she was the only source of cash for the residents in her town. 

Soon enough, practically everyone in the communities around Krystal's store became her customers. Teachers, government workers, policemen, and even farmers and construction workers all depend on her store and its Cash Agad service to get their salaries. Her store also became the official channel for the government cash assistance given to 4Ps beneficiaries. This was done with the help of the local government.

It's not just Krystal's store that benefits from Cash Agad. Other business owners in the area, from other sari-sari stores to eateries, to hardware shops, and even stalls for vegetables, fruits, meat, and fish at the wet market--all of them thanked her for being able to provide cash to the community. This is because the amount of local spending had become greater than ever. People were spending their cash on local businesses instead of those in faraway Candon City. 

Krystal's experience really shows how the Cash Agad service expands financial inclusion in remote, hard-to-reach areas in the country. The result is a boost to the local economy. Established businesses earn more. More businesses are set up. The engine of local economic activity is revved up and eventually, there's improved quality of life for the residents.

Lorna Taruc,  Cash Agad Partner Agent at San Simon, Pampanga
Lorna Taruc,  Cash Agad Partner Agent at San Simon, Pampanga

Lorna Taruc, owner of Jan Pau Convenience Store and Cash Agad Partner Agent at San Simon, Pampanga, the Cash Agad service is a big help to their community.  

"It’s so much more convenient and easier for people here to go to my store and withdraw their cash. They no longer need to travel so far. Especially during the lockdown when it was so difficult to find public transportation.  Apart from this, I had more customers buying from my store.”

Roselyn Abella said that many residents were afraid to leave their town during the community quarantine because they heard the news that there were many COVID-19 cases in the city where they usually go to transact with banks and use ATMs.

Roselyn Abela, Cash Agad Partner Agent of Pitogo, Bohol
Roselyn Abela, CAsh Agad Partner Agent of Pitogo, Bohol

This city is quite far from Pitogo. A person traveling there would need to ride a habal-habal then cross the sea by boat to another island. On the island, he or she would have to ride another habal-habal to reach the city. It takes half a day to an entire day to travel there and back again to Pitogo.  A two-way trip costs 500 pesos.

"When the community quarantine was imposed, people were thankful that I have Cash Agad at my store. They withdraw their cash here and then afterwards, they buy some of the essentials they need at home. That’s why my sales at the store also increased,”, said Roselyn.

BDO is so true to its promise of "finding ways" That's why the Cash Agad service is finally here.

"If the country's economy is ever going to bounce back from the pandemic, it will take all of us--big businesses, MSMEs, and both urban and rural communities and their local governments--to help each other and do our part. There's a certain inspiration, a beautiful sort of hope when you see communities working together to rise up and recover from a crisis. BDO is doing its part in helping communities recover economically through the Cash Agad network," said Mr. Jim Nasol, Head of Agency Banking, BDO Unibank.

Cash Agad is a service that can be availed by faraway and communities with little to no banking facilities within reach. Many faraway places in the country do not have banks or ATMs where residents may conveniently get cash. Just like sa mga provinces and remote areas.

Communities that are located on distant islands, need to hire motorized boats for this is the only means of transportation. Some towns and barrios are located in mountainous or hilly areas with rocky and uneven terrain. Others are separated by sheer hundreds of kilometers from urban areas and have no concrete roads nor highways. All of these factors and more prevent banks from building and maintaining physical branch offices in these faraway towns. 

The Cash Agad service provides a simple, elegant, and practical solution to all that. By partnering with stores and shops already established in the community, BDO turns them into community-based ATM terminals. The shop owner receives a POS terminal for use in transacting locally-issued ATM cards, whether debit or prepaid, and facilitates basic transactions like cash withdrawals and balance inquiries. To date, there are over 8000 Cash Agad partner agents nationwide.

Cash Agad Services:

  1. Balance Inquiry
  2. Withdraw Money
How To Inquire Balance?
  1. Hand you ATM to the Cashier 
  2. Mention that you want to inquire your balance.
  3. Input your Pin Code on the POS Terminal
  4. Wait for your balance to be displayed on the screen *No printout

How to Withdraw Money?
  1. Hand you ATM to the Cashier 
  2. Mention the amount you are about to withdraw
  3. Input your Pin Code on the POS Terminal
  4. Wait for the Cash and Receipt
Convenience Fee to be collected
  • Within the City: Php15–30 per transaction 
  • Outside the City: Php30–50 per transaction

Best of all, Cash Agad accepts transactions using ATM cards from different local banks and non-bank financial institutions in the Philippines, not only those from BDO. It's really a service that benefits entire communities.

For more information about Cash Agad, visit 
For other inquiries or Interested to be a Partner Agent? send an email to 

#CashAgad #BDOCashAgad

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