One of the most critical factors to increase widespread use of digital payments in the Philippines is to address customer fears and doubts on digital financial transactions and processes.

On Tuesday, September 1, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Assistant Governor Illuminada Sicat said a major portion of the adult population continues to have trust issues and lack awareness about the use of digital payment solutions.

“The BSP believes that promoting digital literacy plays a crucial role in deepening the public’s trust in digital finance services,” she said.

Sicat said that expansive internet connection access along with having a digital identification system “will facilitate the scale and reach of digital financial services.”

Citing the results of the 2019 Financial Inclusion Survey, Sicat said 69% of adult respondents said they have mobile phones however only 12% use their mobile phones for financial transactions.

The survey also indicated that 53% of surveyed respondents use their phones to access the internet, but only 9% of them use it for financial transactions.

7 out of 10 unbanked adults have mobile phones, which, Sicat said is an opportunity to further boost digital financial transactions. The experiences during the pandemic show the importance of digital financial transactions in an economy.

Further, Sicat said the pandemic accelerated the use of digital payment platforms and boosted the central bank’s bid to increase the share of digital payments to 50% of the total by 2023.

Also of note, automated teller machines (ATMs) withdrawals during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) declined by 24% in terms of volume and 13% in terms of value compared to the 76-day period before the lockdown.

Check transactions also dropped by 67% in volume and 62% in terms of value.

In contrast, electronic fund transfers rose by 74% in volume and 42% in value.

“Without the vaccines that will prevent the spread of the virus, we expect the increasing trend in digital transactions to continue even as lockdown measures are eased,” she added

Balikbayan Media Center
Balikbayan Media Center

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