Bangko Sentral says volume of digital payments hit 20 percent in 2020

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 08 2021 12:03 PM

Businesses bring convenient new ‘cashless’ experiences to customers with the help of the PayMaya One device, allowing them to accept credit, debit, and prepaid cards, as well as QR payments from e-Wallets like PayMaya and WeChat. Handout
Businesses bring convenient new ‘cashless’ experiences to customers with the help of the PayMaya One device, allowing them to accept credit, debit, and prepaid cards, as well as QR payments from e-Wallets like PayMaya and WeChat. Handout

MANILA - The volume of digital payments in 2020 reached 20 percent, hitting the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' target for the year, the central bank said.

At least 20.1 percent of monthly payments volume are done digitally by the end of 2020, according to the latest BSP report.

Likewise, the value of digital payments for the year "substantially" grew to 26.8 percent from 25 percent for the same period, the report said.

Merchant payments for the year also surged by 47.8 percent in volume or an increase of 250.2 million transactions compared to 2019, it said. 

Significant contributor to the rise in digital payments volume include remittances which grew 18.1 percent, reflecting the increased use of fund transfer, the BSP said.

Government institutions have also contributed due to the shift to digital payments of salaries from cash, it added.

"The increased usage of digital payments was largely driven by high-frequency, low value retail transactions such as person-to-merchant payments and person-to-person (P2P) payments such as electronic fund transfers," the BSP said in a statement. 

The BSP aims to digitalize 50 percent of payments by 2023 under its Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap.

BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno earlier said the goal could possibly be achieved earlier than expected due to the rise in digital payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Mobility restrictions have been a "catalyst" for wider adoption of digital payments, he said.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic may have disrupted our way of life, it also created exceptional opportunities to boost digital payments and financial inclusion in the country," Diokno said. 

"It was opportune that, even before the pandemic, the BSP was able to lay out the critical foundations to an interoperable national retail payment system and enabling regulatory frameworks that allowed payment service providers to innovate and offer responsive digital payment products and services," he added.

The BSP has been actively pushing for electronic payments, which include InstaPay or real time transfers under P50,000, and PESONet or transfers of more than P50,000, under its National Retail Payment System (NRPS). 

This year, 6 digital banks were awarded licenses from the central bank to operate in the country. Digital banks aim to support financial inclusivity by streamlining the process in opening bank accounts.

Digital banks were made possible through the BSP's new digital banking framework.

Diokno said these helped Filipinos navigate the "new economy."

The country's 6 digital banks are LandBank's OF Bank, Tonik Bank, UnoBank, UnionDigital, GOTyme and Maya Bank. 

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