Since GCash originally started in Globe, naturally the roots can be seen in their products. Before we had smartphones, many of the value-added features of the telecom operators can be seen via the SIM menu, which is also called as the USSD menu.
What is USSD?
USSD stands for “Unstructured Supplementary Service Data”. Back when all the phones were dumbphones, there were no full-featured apps on them, and Internet connections weren’t the norm. SMS was the only way to send messages between phones, and USSD was a way for telecom operators to provide for extra functionality and promotions. Back then, you could download ringtones or check your balance using this.
For users to pull this menu up, you would need to type a certain code on the phone. In this case for Globe, you would need to press *143# using the dialer.
Currently, here is what we can see when we bring up the menu for a prepaid Globe SIM. To select an option, you need to type in a number corresponding to the selection you’ve chosen:
Nowadays, accessing USSD is mainly tied to load promos as prepaid consumption is still the main staple of Filipinos with their data budget. Since accessing the USSD menu is free of charge, this is useful when the user no longer has load credits for accessing services.
Can I access this menu using a non Globe SIM?
No, you will be getting the USSD menu of your own operator. As GCash is Globe maintained, you can only find it under the Globe SIM menu.
I have a dual SIM enabled smartphone. Can I still access this menu?
Yes, you just need to enter *143# into your dialer and “call” using your Globe SIM call button.
Why can’t I find the GCash menu?
You may need to scroll down as the screen cannot support showing all of the choices. Of you can use the *143*0*6# (prepaid) or *143*7# (postpaid) shortcut.
What are the options under GCash?
You can also use *143*0*6# (prepaid) or *143*7# (postpaid) as a shortcut to go directly to the GCash menu. As this post is all about GCash, here are the different selections under GCash in the USSD menu:
This option allows you to register to GCash. If you are already registered you will not be able to proceed with this menu. Otherwise, the selection will ask you for your MPIN, full name, birth year, and address. You will then be receiving an SMS that registration is successful.
2. GCash Card
This allows you to activate, suspend, and reactivate your GCash Mastercard respectively. Use this if you encounter errors with activating GCash Mastercard in the GCash app. Using this option, you can also activate and link more than three GCash Mastercard which is the limit in the app.
3. Cash In / Out
There are two options for this selection: Bank to GCash and Receive Remittance. Under Bank to GCash, we can choose either BPI or RCBC. But for both, they advise the user to use the GCash app to cash-in. Under Receive Remittance, you can choose either Moneygram or Western Union.
For the remittance services, you can remit money directly to your GCash account by inputting the expected amount, the reference number / MTCN, and your country of birth.
4. Send Money
You can send money to another GCash user using this option. You need to enter the amount, the message, and the recipient mobile number. You will also need to verify by inputting your MPIN.
5. Pay Bills
You can pay bills to any biller supported by GCash. The selections are billers by alphabet, by category and by search. You also need to enter the details required like reference no, amount, account name and others as needed for payment.
6. Buy Load
Using this option, you can buy load credits for any network. You can also choose regular or promo SKUs just like in the GCash app.
7. GCash Amex
All of the GCash AMEX related information are here. You can request your AMEX details by SMS or request a new security code / CVV here.
8. GCash Biz Solutions
Grab and Angkas drivers can convert their GCash balance to their respective e-vouchers using this service.
You can check your balance and change your MPIN using this option in the menu.
Ironically for something that’s named “More”, it doesn’t really contain anything. Most likely this is a placeholder for possible future options.
We talked about the Globe USSD menu which is accessible via *143#. This is used for dumbphones or as an alternative to the GCash app. You can do a lot of different functions using this. Unfortunately, this can only be accessed using Globe SIMs — other operators have their own USSD menus in their SIM cards.
As we are talking about GCash, I focused on the different options you can select using the GCash USSD submenu. You can access some supplementary functions like receiving remittances, activating GCash Mastercard, buying load, and paying bills.
If you’d like to learn more about GCash, I created a how-to on the basics of GCash.
Here is a list of links if you’re interested in the main GCash functions:
- Cash in or Cash out
- GCash Scams
- Send Money
- Bank Transfer
- Payment via QR
- GCash Mastercard
- AMEX Virtual Pay
- Pay Bills
- Request Money
- Buy Load
- GCash Forest
- Book Movies
- GCash via USSD (*143#)
- Receiving Remittances
If you are also interested in knowing what resources I used to make this blog happen, please look at my resources page.
How do you like the tutorial? Did I miss anything? Please add your comments and suggestions below!