BSP on track to digitalize 50 percent of payments by 2023: Diokno

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 05 2022 02:22 PM

MANILA - Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno on Tuesday said the Philippines is on track to meet its goal of digitalizing 50 percent of payments by 2023.

Under the central bank's Digitalization Roadmap, it aims to convert 50 percent of payments and onboard 70 percent of the adult population to the formal banking system by 2023.

As of 2020, the total monthly share of digital payments reached 20.1 percent, slightly overshooting the target of 20 percent which was set in 2015, Diokno said during the Philippine Economic Briefing 2022. 

"We are now seeing the fruits of our efforts to digitalization the country’s payment system," Diokno said.

"Adoption remains on track to reach 50 percent mark by 2023," he added.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of digital payments in the past few years as mobility restrictions forced Filipinos to transact while staying at home. 

Online payments include InstaPay and PESONet, which were launched under the country's National Retail Payment System (NRPS). In an October 2021 report, the BSP said at least 1 in 5 payments is now digital. 

In 2021, the central bank has also granted 6 digital bank licenses under its new digital banking framework with Land Bank's OF Bank as the pioneer which is now catering to overseas Filipinos in over 100 countries.

All these efforts aim to "advance financial inclusion" in the country Diokno said. 

"The pandemic has proved to be a catalyst that accelerated many of our reforms such as digitization and sustainability in our financial system," Diokno said. 

Despite the potential impact of the ongoing tension between Russia and Ukraine, which is disrupting the global oil supply chain, Diokno said the economy is poised to return to its pre-pandemic level.

Before the pandemic, the Philippine economy was growing at an average of 6 to 7 percent, with "21 years of uninterrupted growth" before 2019, he said. 

This year, the government has set a target growth of 7 to 9 percent. In 2021, the economy expanded by 5.6 percent, slightly overshooting targets. 

However, Diokno said the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine remains a risk to the favorable economic outlook.

Inflation could settle back within the target of 2 to 4 percent in 2023, Diokno said after it quickened to 4 percent in March.

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