Sari-sari stores seen as portals to Philippines' cashless future

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 23 2018 08:39 AM

A shopper surveys goods at a sari-sari store in Manila. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA -- Millions of sari-sari stores can serve as gateways to cashless transactions, helping convince Filipinos to drop cash as their payment mode of choice, a financial services provider said Thursday.

TrueMoney has deployed 16,000 basic point-of-sale terminals to as far as Tawi-Tawi on the Philippines southern tip, with plans to grow its network to 25,000 this year, said its country CEO, Jacqueline Van Den Ende.

"The sari-sari store is the traditional cornerstone of Philippine society. For us, the sari-sari store is omnipresent and secondly, they have a lot of trust in the local community," Van Den Ende told ANC's Early Edition.

"People trust their local sari-sari store for financial services," she said. "We bank on the presence and local role the sari-sari store plays. It's a low-cost way to expand."

The Philippines is a "super cash economy" with many still without bank accounts. Paying in cash also doesn't come with additional cost, Van Den Ende said.

The establishment of a national ID will be a "game changer" for financial services since this would make transactions easier, she said.

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