Posted in Finance, Mobile App

iCloud Storage Renewal Payment Method Declined Error

Few days ago I contacted iTunes Support for my problem in renewing my 50GB iCloud storage. The error had to do with my payment method being declined. I received a prompt response but not a satisfactory answer.

I purchased a track on iTunes on September 30th and the MasterCard which has always been listed on my Apple ID has been successfully charged the corresponding amount. Three or fours after it was already October 1st and I received an e-mail:

On 30/09/2018, we attempted to charge you for your 50 GB iCloud storage plan, but there is a problem with your payment information. Your account will be downgraded to the free 5 GB storage plan if we cannot successfully renew your subscription.

Before I was able to open my mail,  I was able to buy some gold bars in Candy Crush. Now, purchases have to be verified by an Apple ID password before they go through. It’s odd that my other in-app purchases would go through except the iCloud storage renewal.

I followed the usual steps to update the billing information on my Apple ID. I tried it thrice and the payment method declined error persisted. I contacted iTunes support and I was told the same answers which I already knew and tried prior to getting their response but those didn’t work.

One tip they would insist on is the name and billing address should match etc etc. My billing name on Apple ID does not match what the MasterCard says but my purchases went through before that (including the iCloud storage renewal).

The unaddressed problem here either lies with iCloud’s or MasterCard’s but, of course, iTunes Support cannot address that.

I solved the problem by changing my card on file to an American Express. Mind you, the billing name and postcode on file does not even match with that of my AmEx’s.

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Posted in Mobile App, Photography, Tutorials

Uploading Photos and Videos From iPhone To Microsoft OneDrive

 

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I have upgraded accounts in both iCloud (50gb) and Microsoft OneDrive (ITB). The ITB from Microsoft OneDrive comes with the Office 365 monthly subscription so upgrading to a higher cloud storage for iCloud seems unnecessary for me if I could upload photos and videos from my iPhone to Microsoft OneDrive’s mobile app.

The basic way to upload from your iPhone to Microsoft OneDrive is, of course, to enable Camera Upload in your OneDrive mobile app. This feauture allows your photos and videos taken on your iPhone to be uploaded automatically to your OneDrive without having to open the OneDrive app.

I didn’t have technical issues with this Camera Upload feature before but lately bugs in Microsoft OneDrive are becoming frequent. No matter how many times I keep refreshing the Camera Upload page, I would still see the “up to date” message and it wouldn’t sync properly. Manually uploading the files by tapping on the + icon on my OneDrive doesn’t seem to do the trick some of the time. At one point, it would say I was uploading 3 videos and then in 3 seconds it would say I was uploading 1 video.

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A successful upload done within OneDrive should appear like this. 
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If the number of uploads correspond to what you see under the Progress tab,  you can tap on Home from Asssistive Touch and leave OneDrive open without affecting upload progress. 

A better way to upload photos and videos from your iPhone to your Microsoft OneDrive account is to do it via the iPhone’s Photos app options. I am using Videos as an example because I encounter more upload glitches in Microsoft OneDrive.

1 – Go to the Videos album in your iPhone’s Photos and select the videos you want to upload to OneDrive.

 

2 – Tap on the Share icon on the lower left corner.

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3 – Tap on More and enable OneDrive. I could only upload 10 videos at a time and if I exceed that number, the OneDrive icon would not appear even if I enabled it.

 

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4 – Select the folder you wish to upload your videos to.

 

5 – Wait for the files to complete uploading. If you go to Home without the completed uploads, you will lose your progress.

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Posted in Finance, Mobile App, Telco

GCredit by GCash

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It has been a while since I started seeing “Beta version” and “For selected users only” whenever I would click on the GCredit tab in my GCash app. Few of my friends and relatives who have GCash have had their GCredit working for them when they do QR shopping. I had better GScore on my GCash mobile app than they did but I was quite late to the party. I thought it probably has something to do with the fact that my Globe number has been on international roaming for close to a year now.

Then last week I got a text notification that I have been approved for GCredit.

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My sister and cousin had been approved for P2,000 but I had not expected mine to be P5,000.

GCredit is not without its disadvantages – some GCash users who have been known to have regular cash flow coming into their GCash accounts might suddenly stop using it once they can no longer afford to fund their GCredit interest. I have heard a few unpleasant stories about GCash users’ balance being automatically deducted because of their unpaid GCredit interest. As with credit lines, moderation is always key.

For the meantime, its advantage for me is the pay bills part. I can pay my Smart postpaid bill with GCredit. It’s a measly P999 monthly plan which I have not really utilised for 10 months straight. Sending money to other GCash users is not available with GCredit.

How does one get approved for GCredit? Just keep using GCash to pay your bills, buy groceries with the QR Code shopping or top up mobile numbers with it and in no time your GScore or trust score will move up.

Posted in Finance, Mobile App, Telco

Skrill To GCash Withdrawal Problem

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For a few years that I’ve been a Skrill member, I have also experienced Skrill to GCash withdrawal problem before and I’m surprised the Globe number 0956 prefix problem is still a huge topic in some forums. Some forum posters have pointed out one needs to enroll a Globe number with a lower prefix into GCash and add it to one’s Skrill mobile wallet.

I am bringing this topic to light again because my cousin recently encountered a Skrill to GCash withdrawal problem specifically with the error “Recipient number can not be found, please review and try again.” He has a freshly verified GCash account so what could have been the problem? His Globe number has a 0906 prefix so this somehow botches the lower prefix theory.

In 2015 I had bought a Globe LTE pocket WiFi at 50% discount and the following year I decided to use the SIM card included in it as my GCash AmEx number. Not long after I decided to apply for a GCash MasterCard because I wanted to have a GCash physical card with me. Right off the bat I already noticed a problem with the new SIM card the agent suggested I enroll for the GCash MasterCard –  the text notification for the GCash registration did not arrive instantaneously and he had to pry open another SIM card packet before he got a successful registration.

I was able to add both of my GCash numbers – the AmEx and MasterCard ones – to my Skrill mobile wallet. It tricked me to think both numbers would be working fine for Skrill to GCash withdrawal. I was already using the GCash AmEx number to withdraw on Skrill and never had a problem with it. Adding the GCash MasterCard proved pointless thereafter when I would get an error message with every withdrawal attempts. Luckily with my 0995 GCash AmEx number already on file, I could (and still can) successfully withdraw from Skrill to GCash instantly and I would then transfer the GCash AmEx funds to my 0956 GCash MasterCard.

For my cousin, this solves his Skrill to GCash withdrawal problem for the meantime, which means he would have to do the Skrill to Skrill transfer and I would have to withdraw to my GCash Amex, forward it to my GCash MasterCard and lastly to his GCash account. Good thing the whole process is instant.

I don’t think we simply have a lower or higher prefix number problem here for Skrill. As has been known with Globe’s practice of recycling inactive numbers, you can bet it’s possible the root of the Skrill to GCash withdrawal problem error “recipient number cannot be found” is that some GCash numbers, regardless of prefixes, were once nulled or deactivated and along the way some quality control went awry.

 

 

Posted in Courier, Technology

Shipping Laptops With Lithium-Ion Batteries

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Once when I had to make a decision between choosing DHL and FedEx for shipping laptops with lithium-ion batteries from the Philippines to a neighbouring country, my first choice was DHL. It proved to be a cumbersome selection. Not only was the Macbook Air laptop returned, the customer service part of the follow-up was hell. I ended up going to FedEx which had surprisingly a more straightforward approach in shipping laptops with lithium-ion batteries internationally.

If you prefer to ship a laptop with lithium-ion battery because your consignee already has a DHL account, make sure you include the Material Safety Data Sheet or MSDS of the built-in battery with the commercial invoice. Your consignee would contact the courier company to schedule the pickup from your address and the shipping charges would be billed to your consignee’s DHL account. From my experience with shipping a Macbook Air with lithium-ion battery, I did not have much luck finding the MSDS even after I called up Apple’s 1-800 number in the Philippines. Apple Support sent me a PDF document titled Macbook Air 13-inch Environmental Report.

According to a DHL staff from Manila, a Material Safety Data Sheet or MSDS is a document signed by a licensed chemist to prove that the laptop is non-hazardous. Unlike other conventional laptops with removable batteries, the Macbook Air (and not just the Macbook but even their iPhones) has a built-in battery. My sister’s friend who is a licensed chemist informed us that the MSDS is not just any document signed by a licensed chemist, rather it is actually an official document signed by an authorized body that even she who was licensed could not produce a document like it.

Because DHL Manila did not accept the Macbook Air 13-inch Environmental Report, the laptop was shipped back to my address after being held up in customs for 3 days.

We even tried to contact Apple again and requested an MSDS specifically for the built-in battery only. The customer service agent at Apple Singapore took over the matter. They explained that Apple doesn’t have a specific MSDS for the lithium-ion polymer battery of the Macbook Air. However, they requested that we transfer them to the person in-charge of the final clearance for shipping the item overseas. DHL Manila said that suggestion is not going to work because all they need was the MSDS.

When we dealt with FedEx, they told us that DHL in the Philippines do not use their own plane – they tie up with the local airlines to ship items. I was doubtful about this until I noticed that the storage box which was returned to us by DHL had a Cebu Pacific sticker on the side. I then understood what he meant about why the MSDS was required. Since they use Cebu Pacific in this case, DHL had no control over airline rules and regulations for shipping laptops with built-in lithium-ion batteries.

Posted in Finance, Mobile App, Telco, Tutorials

GCash MasterCard Refund

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I have read some posts in the Globe Community forum about user complaints not getting their Lazada refunds or any other chargeback promptly and by promptly these dissatisfied GCash users mean months. Trying to contact 2882 or constantly badgering their customer support via their Facebook Messenger account sometimes can be a waste of time.

I, too, had purchased an item on Lazada Thailand’s website which the merchant eventually cancelled and I waited for 3 months because I had placed so much trust in the system to automate the refund itself.

What you need to know is on Lazada’s end, it would only take less time for them to process the refund. The tricky part is on GCash’s part. This GCash refund problem seems to happen more to GCash MasterCard accounts. This is just my observation as  I also own a GCash AmEx and with the latter it’s never taken months for refunds to arrive to my GCash AmEx balance.

How did I get my Lazada refund to my GCash MasterCard resolved? I filled up the Dispute Form and e-mailed it to gcashinquiries@globe.com.ph. It’s very important to remember that sending them an e-mail with a description of your problem won’t do it – always always always fill up the dispute form, tick the correct concern and send them additional proof like receipts or a screenshot or communication exchange with Lazada or some other company you are awaiting refund from.

My Lazada Thailand purchase was made in April this year but I did not file the dispute until early August. However, once I filed the dispute with GCash, I was able to get my Lazada refund in less than a week. You will know when the refund because you will receive a text notification which usually looks like this:

Upon review of a previous transaction, we have now credited PXXX.XX to your account. Your new balance is PXXXX.XX. Ref. No. XXXXXXXXXX. 

In order to completely fill up the dispute form with the correct details, you might want to have your transaction history e-mailed to you. You can do this right within the GCash mobile app. You can even select the specific month when you made the online purchase. The transaction history will contain the 10-digit Transaction Reference number. If you know the date but don’t remember the exact time you made the purchase, you can look for the e-mail confirmation of the online purchase sent to you by Lazada or some other merchant. The time on the e-mail and the time on the GCash transaction history should match. The 10-digit Transaction Reference number is the one that GCash support will refer to in their records for their review.

As of this writing, I still have 3 more pending refunds in this order: from Booking.com’s promotion, from Google AdWords, and from iHerb. The last two were July purchases so they should come in within this month.

What if you are expecting a reward for an online promotion and you entered your GCash MasterCard for it? That’s what happened with my Booking.com’s 30% reward from a  hotel stay promotion Booking.com had back in June. The e-mail confirmation stated that $12.70 was on its way to the card listed on my account. July came and went but there was no ingress of $12.70 on my GCash MasterCard. Of course, this was a hotel stay paid for in cash so there was no 10-digit GCash transaction reference number to look in the transaction history for. In this kind of scenario, you would need to contact the merchant to follow up with them regarding the reference number on their end and forward it to GCash.

I will post an update for the 3 remaining refunds I am expecting.

 

Update September 3, 2018:

The iHERB refund has been processed.

Processed with MOLDIV

 

Update September 25, 2018:

The Booking.com reward has been processed.

Processed with MOLDIV

Posted in Mobile App, Music, Social Media, Tutorials

How To Add Music To Instagram Stories

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There are several ways to add music to Instagram stories. You may even have seen one of them involves playing a song of your choice on the Apple Music or Spotify app, pausing it to go to Instagram story and resume playing it via the Control Center. There are also mobile apps out there that will allow you to add music to your Instagram stories by picking from a song list within the app itself.

Once when I had too much time on my hands, I used to populate my 15-second Instagram stories with snippets of songs to emphasize the specific lyrics that came to me subconsciously. Of course the feature to add music to Instagram stories is already available but only for select countries for the meantime.

I would usually add music to Instagram stories in the following manner:

1 – Play the song on my Apple Music app and screen record the part of the song where the specific lyrics are. iOS 11.4, however, has blocked screen recording of songs being played on Apple Music and if you attempt to screen record it, you’ll get a screen recording with the sound turned off.

The reason why I do not play it on the Apple Music or Spotify app, pause it to go to Instagram story and resume playing it via the Control Center is the quality of the audio/sound. If you’ve tried this you can hear the big difference. So I go for the other option, which is playing the video of the song on YouTube and screen recording it from there.

2 – I go to the screen recorded video on my Camera Roll and, click on Edit and at the bottom of the screen would tap on the circle with 3 dots inside, which would lead me to CropVS and iMovie options for editing. I would select iMovie for trimming the recorded part to 15 seconds only.

3 – I would then open CropVS and import the trimmed screen recording. CropVS would compress it and the compressed version always makes for a quick Instagram story upload.

4 – Upon opening my Instagram story, I would select the screen recorded video. I would then tap on the pencil icon and colour selection that comes up. If my mood tells me to pick blue, I would tap on blue and press on the screen for a while until the colour blue fills the screen to cover the video. Sometimes I would add emojis or GIFs or edit it with  another mobile app called Vimo for more animated emojis.

Here are a few samples:

In A Big Country by Big Country, © Mercury 

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Intro to I Don’t Want To Live Without You by Foreigner, ©Atlantic (I edited this with Vimo mobile app)

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Intro to Lucky Star by Madonna, ©Sire Warner Bros. (Edited with Vimo)

Posted in Mobile App, Travel

Can I Use Grab Overseas?

 

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So you’re planning a trip outside of the Philippines but just within Southeast Asia and you’re asking yourself, can I use Grab overseas? The answer is yes. But can I use Grab overseas and still have my Grab rewards points intact? The answer is also yes.

Sometime last year I went out of the country and used my Grab mobile app overseas. This entailed a change to the local sim card and when I landed in NAIA 3 after my trip, I saw my Grab rewards points restarted to zero even though I had the same email address with which I registered my Grab account with. No one in Grab Support could satisfactorily address my concern.

Since they overhauled their system, the option to link one’s Grab account to a Google account or a Facebook account has become available. This feature helped keep the rewards points intact even if you are changing your Philippine sim card to a local one. I’ve done this in Thailand and Vietnam. I would insert my Thai or Vietnam sim card once I arrive at the airport or at the land border. As I had emphasized in this article, I do recommend using a local sim if you plan to get around as much as you can in Southeast Asia where Grab transport service is available. I cannot stress enough how it is the safest option for tourists.

The catalog for rewards points redeemable vary from one country to another. I had wanted that iFlix subscription for 1 year for Platinum Members worth 2,100 points but the Grab Vietnam market does not offer it as it was only available in the Philippines.

Posted in Business, Lifestyle, Marketing

Coffee Shop Marketing Strategy

 

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Do you ever wonder how most coffee shops have dim lighting? Last week I was hanging out at a dimly-lit Starbucks sweet-binging my week frustrations away when a light bulb went off in my head (pun intended). The fact that I was questioning that is a testament to a coffee shop marketing strategy that works.

I’ve read articles about how the pineal gland produces more melatonin, a hormone which controls our body’s circadian rhythm, most especially in dim lighting. Controlling the brightness of the light signals the pineal gland to produce more melatonin and induces drowsiness. The brain is tricked to think it needs to stay awake and we eventually hanker for another coffee cup or refill. Together with additional espresso shots, the efficiency of dim lighting in coffee shops is magnified and your mind cannot stop spewing ideas.

Sometime last year I used to hang out in another coffee shop to work on long pages of translation documents and I remember spending 5 hours in 4 or 5 consecutive days to get the job done. It was ideal to stay there starting lunch time up to pre-sunset. When the sun sets the staff pulls down the window blinds and it gets dimly-lit from then on and I found it hard to concentrate – along with less brightness was my waning interest in work and I get tempted to pack up and go. But what happens after I switch to another brightly-lit area is my brain starts to function again and I would want to pick up where I left off.

I made a mental note of that and told myself if I ever work on long pages of translations again I would move to a brighter place to hang out. I counted local coffee shops I’ve been in and controlled brightness of the light in the room is never absent.

Posted in Finance, Internet, Mobile App, Technology

Google AdWords Suspension: Suspicious Payments

Last week I signed up for Google AdWords and created a campaign to test the waters. The minimum I paid for was $10 and Google collected my payment via a Philippine-issued debit card.

When I signed up, I saw the location or Country drop drown menu detected Vietnam by default. Thinking I was supposed to use my temporary address here in Hanoi, I entered my Hanoi address. My ad campaign was running well and my $10 balance was deducted $0.40 for a few days. I made another campaign after that, this time I promoted a YouTube video I had uploaded a month ago. The day after I received an email saying that my Google AdWords account was suspended for Suspicious Payments.

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Google AdWords Suspension for Suspicious Payments, as I understood it after I appealed Google AdWords’ decision, meant they suspected I used a stolen credit card because the default country I registered Google AdWords for and the billing address of my Philippine-issued debit card were different. It’s funny because as soon as they emailed me regarding my account suspension, they sent me another email (on the same day!) that my ad campaign was up and running.

If you do a Google search about Google AdWords suspension for Suspicious Payments, you will come to the conclusion few only get their Google AdWords suspension lifted. You guessed it, I got the same canned response about their decision was final and that I would not be able to create another account. However, when I go to my AdWords dashboard, it doesn’t absolutely reflect that. To get my refund, I had to cancel my Google AdWords account and yet after deactivating it, the button turned into REACTIVATE YOUR ACCOUNT. Another eye-rolling moment.

For now, I won’t think about reactivating my account yet even though it was clearly just a click away. The lesson for this is to make sure your billing address of your debit or credit card matches that of your registered country when you signed up.