Monday, December 3, 2012

GCASH American Express Virtual Card lets you shop with a US billing address

At first I thought, yeah yeah yeah, another virtual credit card. I already have one of those. Don't need another credit card. Please don't bother me! Good thing then that my wife, Topaz Horizon, was asked to try out the GCASH American Express Virtual Card for her blog. What is it exactly? It's a whole lot of things, but the one thing that stood out for me was that you can buy things in the US from stores that require a US billing address.

The basics:
Okay, rewind muna. If you don't have a GCASH account, it's a payment service that's linked to your phone number. You can send or receive load. Or you can send money as payment, kind of like PayPal. It's actually a popular mode of payment on ebay Philippines. You can also link your bank account to your GCASH account and withdraw or add money.

The GCASH American Express Virtual Card works like a debit card that is linked to your GCASH account. So unlike a credit card, you can't spend more money than what's in your GCASH account. I like this because it's more secure. If, God forbid, you lose your card number, the maximum you can lose is the money in your account, instead of your credit limit.

What you can do with a US billing address:
Upon enrollment, you will be given an American express card plus all the pertinent information AND a US billing address.

This is great news for tech lovers because you can now spend money in places like Apple Store US (it's cheaper in the US), Apple iTunes Store US (they've got better and more stuff in the US), and PlayStation Network US.

Getting your stuff here:
If you buy something from, say, Amazon, it will be delivered to your US Billing Address. This address is the same as the address provided by My Shopping Box. These guys will forward your package to your address in the Philippines. It's just like Johnny Air except they deliver to your doorstep.

My Shopping Box will charge you $6 per pound. This is inclusive of customs fees, so don't fret. You're not smuggling. Johnny Air charges by volume so it's hard to compare costs, but based on previous purchases, it looks like My Shopping Box is generally cheaper -- still, it really depends on your package!

Back to virtual purchases:
Anyway, I'll talk about My Shopping Box more when my computer parts which I ordered from Amazon arrive, which may take a while. For now, I wanted to talk about the virtual purchases on the PlayStation Network.

Registering the card went flawlessly. It has to be said that there is a small finance charge involved here, $1.

When registering, you'll need the following info: your name (duh), your AMEX card number, your card's expiry date, your US Billing Address including zip code, your card's security code. Simple. You should get all of this info when you register for your GCash AMEX card.

Unfortunately, there was a big mess on the PSN side of things because they updated their store and couldn't accept some payments. I was affected by this. Still can't add funds to my wallet after weeks. I read online that there are others who also can't buy from PSN. Sony's fault. Boo!

Anyway, I went to Amazon and bought a "downloadable" PSN card instead. Amazon will email you the code instead of sending the physical card. Of course, regional restrictions apply, so you will need a credit card with a US billing address. So I used the GCash AMEX card and finally, success!

I guess I'll be seeing my friends at DataBlitz much less now. Using the AMEX virtual card saves you a few bucks too because DataBlitz charges you approximately $60 for a $50 PSN card. (Hey, they have to make money.) Sayonara!

Coming soon: buying stuff from Amazon using the GCASH American Express Virtual Card and My Shopping Box

In the meantime, the wife did her shopping first. Click here to read her experience.


Jelly Bean said...

Nice post. Have you tried buying games from Steam? They offer lots of online games and always on sale.

The Third World Nerd said...

I love Steam! They take regular international credit cards, so that's good news

Myraq Moonfall said...

It currently doesn't work on Steam. Play store works just fine.

The Third World Nerd said...

Thanks for the heads up!