E-money now used by 4 out of 10 Filipinos: BSP

Lady Vicencio, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 17 2023 05:19 PM

MANILA - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is confident it will reach the 50 percent digitalization target for retail payments by the end of 2023.

In 2022, 42.1 percent of retail payments were converted to digital form, the central bank said.

BSP Deputy Governor Mamerto Tangonan said the number of e-money users have been steadily growing as four out of 10 Filipinos now use e-money accounts.

To keep the upward trajectory, the central bank is in talks with banks and digital transactions platforms to lower or waive transaction fees for small transactions under P1,000.

“These fees, it presents a barrier and there is a reluctance to pay. Since we’re encouraging digital payments, let’s offer them micropayments so they will get to use more,” Tangonan said.

He added that the BSP is giving time for e-money platforms to study the impact of waiving transaction fees to their balance sheets.

While digital bank Maya expressed support on the government’s vision for financial inclusion, Maya Acceptance and SME Head Richard Labitag said investments on the technology and consumers promotions should be taken into account. 

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“Nagbibigay na po tayo ng up to 11 percent sa savings. Given those investments plus itong move to make it free of charge for small purchases, we’re studying that. We need to sort it out internally because it is not an easy task,” Labitag said.

E-wallet platform GCash noted on operational costs incurred for services offered in the app.

“We are a platform that enables multiple financial services inside the app. These are not just organic services that we create. A number of those services is coming from different financial institutions as well. Outside of the operational costs that we have is also fees that we incur through the collections with other partners,” GCash Public Sectors and Partnerships Cathlyn Pavia said.

To encourage consumers and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to shift to digital transactions, Cashless Expo was mounted wherein all merchant payments are in digital form.

Department of Trade and Industry Assistant Secretary Mary Jean Pacheco said that conversion of retail payments to digital form is a safe, convenient, and secure for both consumers and merchants.

“Pasko na baka manakawan ka pa. Ma-misplace mo. Sa cashless, all you need is a mobile phone. ‘Pag cashless ka, ang fintech natin nagkakaroon ng digital footprint. Makikita ang transaction nila. Hindi na sila magla-log book,” Pacheco said.