Cashless payment saw a steep rise during the pandemic when the Philippine government imposed different levels of quarantine to contain the spread of the virus. COVID-19 caused a massive digital shift not only for enterprises but also for consumers.
PayMaya, an end-to-end digital payments platform provider, “consistently registered triple-digit growth rates throughout 2020, peaking sometime around May at the height of the enhanced community quarantine to register over 1,000% year-on-year growth compared with the same month in 2019.”
PayMaya also reported that it is ending the year with more than 28 million customers across all platforms who can pay, add money, cash out, or remit in over 200,000 touchpoints nationwide.
“This radical shift to cashless for the Philippines will only continue accelerating in 2021 as we offer more services and forge more enterprise partnerships that are relevant for many consumers,” said Shailesh Baidwan, president, PayMaya, in a media release.
To accommodate the sudden surge of demand for cashless payments, PayMay introduced, overhauled, and upgraded various services. The year also saw almost non-stop partnerships in various sectors including the government.
Philippine residents have become accustomed to using the PayMaya app and wallet making it a necessity not only because of convenience but also because many realized the need for a contactless payment system to curb a highly contagious virus.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
PayMaya, along with other financial institutions and fintech firms, has been working on the call of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to increase the share of digital payments to 50% of all retail transactions and expand financial inclusion to 70% of Filipino adults by 2023, as part of its recently released Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap 2020-2023. The pandemic accelerated the goals.
Quoting the latest e-Conomy SEA 2020 report by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company, PayMaya said the average number of cash transactions by consumers declined from 48% pre-COVID-19 to 37% post-COVID-19. The frequency of e-Wallets transactions rose from an average of 18% pre-COVID-19 to 25% post-COVID-19.
Mobility restrictions and lockdowns prevented people from seeing loved ones even just within Metro Manila. As recorded, PayMaya saw a signficant increase in money remittance, bills payment, and even purchasing mobile prepaid load.
The pandemic also saw major disruptions in government service delivery. But it also saw many government agencies either adopt or accelerated digital services. A number of government institutions partnered with PayMaya in disbursing financial aid through the various COVID-19 mitigating programs of the government. Over P4.5 billion in aid disbursed to PayMaya accounts of hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries nationwide, PayMaya said.
These measures include the Social Amelioration Program under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Small Business Wage Subsidy Program of the Social Security System (SSS), as well as loan programs launched by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Agriculture.
At the start of the quarantine in March, the cities of Manila and Caloocan have also begun disbursing allowances and aid to their respective constituents to aid those affected by the lockdowns. Since then, the cities of Mandaluyong, Quezon City, Las Pinas, and Pasig have followed suit and disbursed proceeds of their various aid programs to PayMaya accounts of residents.
Aside from receiving government aid via their accounts, consumers can also safely and seamlessly transact with government by paying their fees and dues to the Bureau of Internal Revenue, SSS, PAG-IBIG Fund, Philippine Statistics Authority, Department of Foreign Affairs, Land Transportation Office, Professional Regulation Commission, Bureau of Customs, and Department of Trade and Industry, among others, using their PayMaya app.
According to PayMaya, over 60 government units, both in the national and local levels, have tapped PayMaya in offering cashless payments via their online and branch channels. The growth of PayMaya’s volume related to government payment acceptance is projected to reach by 1,200% growth by year-end as compared to 2019.
Cashless payment has looped around the public and private sector as it allowed businesses (those that survived and thrived in the pandemic) to also settle permits, social security contributions, and tax dues as agencies such as the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Social Security System (SSS), and PAG-IBIG Fund.
To recover from the effects of the pandemic to the economy, many merchants have also shifted their focus to delivering products and services online by utilizing chat apps, social media, or even their own dedicated online store.
Because of this, the number of new merchants onboarded and using various PayMaya digital payment acceptance solutions has increased by over 1,500% year-on-year in November, signifying an exponential shift in the way merchants are conducting their business amid the pandemic.
Apps such as PayMaya Negosyo and tools such as Payment Links, Digital QR, as well as the PayMaya Checkout payment gateway allow these businesses — many of the micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) — to quickly offer cashless payment acceptance and even generate new income streams from services such as bills payment and mobile prepaid reloading.
Just a year ago, cashless payment was just an option. Today, as the world navigates a world starkly different from before the virus spread across the globe, digital payment has become the norm. If the Philippines will become a fully cashless society remains to be seen.