Convenience of e-payments skyrockets in the Philippines, major behavioral shift seen in the country

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno continues to be optimistic about the further expansion of electronic payments in the Philippines especially after consumers experienced the vast benefits during the lockdown due to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis.

In a virtual briefing held last Thursday, July 2, Diokno said authorities consider the rise in e-payments a success during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from mid-March to mid-May in Luzon and end-May in Metro Manila, among other areas, because of the expansion in the volume and value of transactions.

“This behavioral shift is easily accommodated because the policies, systems, and procedures were already set in place by the BSP and our supervised institutions in the past year,” he said in reference to the national retail payment system (NRPS), the e-money framework, information technology risk management, and consumer protection framework.

“We are confident that consumers, having experienced the convenience, speed, transparency of e-payments will continue to use these services,” he said.

InstaPay and PESONet, two real-time electronic payment systems have been established under the BSP’s NRPS program.

InstaPay allows consumers to transfer funds up to PHP50,000 per transaction without limit daily while PESONet is a credit payment scheme for business-to-business and people-to-business transactions, such as crediting of salaries to employees’ accounts.

The central bank reported that transactions that use the InstaPay platform registered a volume of about 8.86 million last April, up by about 509,151% compared to 1,740 when it was first launched in April 2018.

PESONet transactions, in turn, totaled 1.08 million last April from about 330,000% when it went live in November 2017.

By 2023, the BSP hopes to increase the share of digital payments to about 50% of all total transactions.

Diokno noted that the pandemic highlighted the importance of digital financial services which aims to increase digital literacy among Filipinos.

“As the BSP intensifies (the) implementation of digitalization and financial inclusion policies, we are confident that the surge in e-payment transactions will continue,” he added.

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