Tech, lifestyle changes make e-money transactions popular

By Bianca Cuaresma, BusinessMirror

Posted at May 12 2014 08:01 AM | Updated as of May 12 2014 05:18 PM

MANILA - Technological and lifestyle changes have made electronic money or e-money gain popularity among Filipinos as indicated by transactions almost doubling both in volume and value since 2010, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) show.

In particular, data show that some P730 billion worth of payments and services were digitally processed in 2013, up from the P441 billion in 2010. The number of transactions during the year aggregated 216.8 million, higher than the 138 million volume of transactions in 2010.

Meanwhile, the average value per transaction was broadly steady throughout the period, from P3,195 in 2010 to P3,367 in 2013.

In essence, electronic money or e-money is monetary value digitally stored in a designated electronic account that may be remotely accessed through an instrument or device.

This digitally stored monetary value is 100 percent backed by cash, and, as such, can be convertible to or from physical bank notes in authorized agent networks.

The rise in the usage of e-money in the country has been attributed by the central bank to the “technology and lifestyle changes” in the Philippines.

BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. also said that the regulatory environment and the safeguards that have been enacted by the BSP also helped encourage the use of electronic transactions in the country as it increased the integrity of the platform for customers.

“This is a desirable outcome as it increases efficiency in the domestic financial system, and it promotes financial inclusion by allowing those in unserved areas access to financial services,” Tetangco said.

At a recent news briefing, BSP Deputy Governor for the Supervision and Examination Sector Nestor Espenilla Jr. said the network of banks in the Philippines remains inadequate to cover the requirements of the country as a sizable potion of the Filipino population remains unbanked.

Espenilla said the regulators continue to find ways to reach even the under served sections of the country in terms of access via e-money transactions, for example.

Espenilla said that there is a “clear relation” between access to electronic payments and financial inclusion.

“You may argue that having an e-money account or being merely digitally included is not the same as having a full suite of banking services at your disposal. This is actually true. But having this electronic account is a powerful gateway, to have that wide range of financial services. And this has been proven in many jurisdictions for electronic payments, for bill payments initially. It can be the first step toward being financially inclusive,” Espenilla said.

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