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Philippine central bank urges the use of digital money for holiday gift-giving


Instead of cash, use digital money for a more hygienic and safer Holiday gift-giving, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno.

“Digital wallets offer a safe, secure, efficient, and convenient way to transfer funds to family and friends during this season of giving,” BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said on Monday, Nov. 22.

He highly encourages the Filipino public to use digital money as an alternative means of giving cash gifts or “aguinaldo” this Christmas season to reduce physical contact and virus transmission between giver and receiver.

Diokno and the BSP said that this was one more way to be contactless since there are still restrictions on mobility and face-to-face gatherings.

The BSP has been pushing for more banking-wide digitalization to speed up the shift to a cash-lite society. It aims to strengthen customer preference for digital payments by converting 50 percent of the total volume of retail payments into digital form and onboarding 70 percent of Filipino adults to the formal financial system through payment or transaction accounts by 2023.

The establishment of digital banking is expected to further accelerate the creation of e-money accounts. The BSP has however limited the number to just six digital bank licenses, for now.

At the end of 2020, the first year of the pandemic, 20.1 percent of payments was done digitally, a huge improvement when in 2013, this was just a one percent share.

There are now 34.7 million e-money accounts compared to 17.9 million in 2019. The number of e-money transactions have also risen by 200 percent from 2019 to 2020. As of the fourth quarter 2020, there are 58,000 cash agents and over 84,000 e-money agents. These are touchpoints that have enabled convenient access to financial services.

The use of the interoperable digital payments PESONet and InstaPay have also increasingly grown over the past two years. PESONet is expected to replace cheque payments eventually while InstaPay will take more of the public’s ATM withdrawal transactions over time.


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