BSP notes rise in digital payments amid quarantine

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) recognizes the need for adopting contactless payments amid the highly contagious disease COVID-19.

With more and more companies offering financial technology services, people are getting accustomed to this new form of payment noting the convenience of making bills payments or money transfer at the comforts of their homes using smartphones.

Data from BSP showed a significant decline in the volume and value of the more “traditional” check payments and ATM withdrawals. This downtrend reflects the effect of the ECQ on the check-based and cash-based financial transactions of businesses, households, and individuals.

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A study by Better Than Cash Alliance shows the volume of e-payment transactions in the Philippines grew from 1% in 2013 to 10% in 2018. The value of these e-payments also rose from 8% to 20% over the same period. The BSP envisions accelerated uptake of e-payment services in the Philippines over the next three years.

Electronic fund transfer

The shift to digital payments is also fueled by the influx of different channels and offers of innovative services.

PESONet and InstaPay are electronic funds transfer (EFT) services offered by BSP-supervised financial institutions for their account holders. Fees for these services have in fact been waived for the duration of the ECQ period. PESONet is appropriate for high-value transactions of companies, other businesses, government entities, and individuals while InstaPay is used for urgent and small-value retail transactions. These EFT mechanisms were established under the National Retail Payment System, a policy framework issued by the BSP in 2017 to provide an enabling environment for a safe, efficient, affordable, and inclusive digital finance ecosystem.

As the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread quickly and infect people quickly, e-payments could become the preferred mode of payment and money transfer sooner than expected.

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