BSP's digital dream: Electronic payments for sari-sari stores, tricycle drivers

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 07 2021 10:12 AM | Updated as of May 07 2021 10:52 AM

A customer pays using his PayMaya app in one of the "cashless stalls" launched by the City of Manila all around the nation's capital, allowing vendors to receive payments via PayMaya QR. Handout

MANILA - Part of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' digital transformation roadmap is to penetrate the micro and informal levels in terms of digital payments, BSP Deputy Governor Mert Tangonan said Friday.

The BSP, which recently launched the person-to-merchant (P2M) QR code system, also believes that the goal of bringing digital payments to 50 percent by 2023 can be achieved, Tangonan told ANC. 

"What we are most excited about is that we want to make this work even down to the micro level, even down to the vendor in the public market or sari-sari stores, tricycle drivers used by the vast majority of our people," he said.

"We want to penetrate even up to the micro, even informal sector, not just to drive volume but most of all to serve the needs of our people and businesses," he added.

The use of electronic payment transfers InstaPay and PESONet have already surged in use, Tangonan said.

Tangonan said the country's ultimate goal is to have a "cash-lite" economy where the use of physical cash and digital payments is in 
"harmony.

"While these 2 forms of payment may vary in form, yet they have the same objective of providing people, businesses and government to complete financial transactions," he said.

Shifting to digital payments, however, will have costs to issuing banks, he said.

"I believe that the incentives have to be present for financial institutions to bring this innovation, services to the market. This has costs. How financial institutions would like to recover those costs, we would like to leave it to them," Tangonan said.

Several banks have waived fees for the use of InstaPay and PESONet until the end of the year, while others have already implemented payment charge for these services. 

During the pre-SONA (State of the Nation Address) economic forum, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said the central bank is working with the government not just in recovery but also in building a "digitally-advanced" new economy.

During the pandemic, digitalization efforts such as the use of InstaPay and PESONet, helped in keeping the economic gears running as Filipinos were forced to stay at home, Diokno earlier said. 

InstaPay and PESONet are part of BSP's National Retail Payment System.

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