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UN report says Philippines moving towards cash-lite economy

A report by the United Nations-based Better Than Cash Alliance (BTCA) noted the increasing use of electronic payments (e-payments) in the Philippines, from 1% of total payments per month in 2013 to 10% in 2018.

The value of e-payment transactions also grew to 20% from 8% in the same period.

“This development affirms that significant progress is attainable through effective cooperation as we harmonize our efforts towards promoting a cash-lite economy,” Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said in a statement.

“In view of its immense potential to foster financial inclusion, the rising usage of e-payments is seen to provide robust support to our shared goal of promoting inclusive economic growth,” he added.

In 2013, the UN report said e-payments reached 26 million, or 1% of 2.5 billion payments per month.

The BSP has set a target of driving the share of digital payments to 20% by 2020.

“The BSP considers that 20% could be the tipping point, after which the country could expect faster growth in digital payments,” the UN report stated.

As of 2018, the BSP was halfway through its target, with e-payments comprising 10% of total payments in a month.

The UN study was released during the “Digital Payments Leaders Summit” held on December 2, 2019 at the BSP head office in Manila.

The study also revealed that women in the Philippines are ahead of the men in adopting digital payment solutions.

The BSP actively promotes the use of e-payments. It recently launched the EGov Pay facility which enables online payment of taxes and government fees; and the QR PH, which is the country’s QR Code standard that allows convenient person-to-person money transfers.

These initiatives are being pursued along with the payments industry led by the Philippine Payments Management, Inc.

The UN report said the Philippine Government is the most digitized stakeholder in the ecosystem, with 64% of all government transactions carried out digitally.

During the summit, participants identified key areas of cooperation, namely: social benefit transfers; payments to merchants and billers including payments to the government; payments to suppliers; and remittances, which are critical use cases in making digital payments widely available and acceptable throughout the country.

“These efforts are aimed at bringing the country closer to our ultimate objective of having an inclusive payment system where no adult Filipino is left behind in terms of access to payment and other basic financial services,” Diokno said. (Ventures Cebu)

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