Phl pushes digital payments

A central bank official said the Philippines had made progress in digitalizing retail payments while broadening financial inclusion.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has observed that more Filipinos prefer to pay through digital means.

“The share of digital payments to total retail payments volume in the country grew from 20.1 percent in 2020 to 30.3 percent in 2021,” BSP Governor Felipe Medalla said during the GCash webinar recently.

The government continues to lead the path to digitalization, with 96.7 percent of its total payment transactions and disbursements already in digital form.

“Out of the 43.6 million total payments made by the government in 2021, 41.6 million are already digital,” Medalla added.

“Payments for salaries and wages and social welfare payments (conditional cash transfers) form the largest portion of payments by the government, equivalent to 85.3 percent of the total volume,” the governor added.

Moreover, payments related to these sub-use cases are already 96.7 percent digital, Medalla said.

This rise in retail payments digitalization goes hand-in-hand with the broadening of financial inclusion.

Data in 2021 shows that 53 percent of all adults in the country now have transaction or payment accounts.

The uptick mainly drove this expansion in active e-money wallets and basic deposit accounts.

From the end of 2019 to the third quarter of 2021, about 16.8 million e-money accounts and 3.6 million new BDAs were opened.

The governor, however, added that these latest developments indicate that “the BSP is on track in meeting its strategic objectives under the Digital Transformation Roadmap of converting 50 percent of the total volume of retail payments into digital form, and onboarding 70 percent of Filipino adults into the financial system through the use of transaction accounts by 2023.”

Medalla said that the central bank is firm in its commitment to fostering an enabling policy environment and pursuing collaborative partnerships with national payment system stakeholders to advance digitalization.

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