TRANSACTIONS coursed through InstaPay and PESONet grew as of end-February from a year ago due to increasing demand for digital services, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) data showed.

The combined value of transactions done through the BSP’s automated clearing houses InstaPay and PESONet rose by 34.5% to P1.83 trillion as of end-February from the P1.36 trillion in the same period last year, central bank data showed.

In terms of volume, transactions coursed through the clearing houses grew by 27.4% to 116 million as of end-February from 91 million in the comparable year-ago period.

The continued double-digit growth may be attributed to the increase in demand for digital transaction amid the reopening of the economy, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said.

“The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of electronic payments on a real-time basis and as alternative to check payments,” Mr. Ricafort said.

“This also helps improve financial inclusion especially the adoption of these electronic fund transfers in areas with less/no banks,” he added.

Broken down, the value of PESONet transactions increased by 32.6% to P1.15 trillion as of end-February from P867.37 billion a year prior.

The volume of transactions that went through the payment gateway stood at 14.57 million, 14% higher than the 12.78 million seen as of February 2022.

Meanwhile, the value of transactions done through InstaPay climbed by 38% year on year to P681.21 billion as of February from P493.50 billion a year prior.

The volume of InstaPay transactions grew by 28.7% to 101.79 million from 79.12 million at end-February 2022.

BSP Governor Felipe M. Medalla during a seminar hosted by Bank Indonesia on Tuesday said the increase in transactions done through PESONet and InstaPay has overtaken the growth of check payments.

“For instance, in 2013, there were hardly any digital payments. Now, 44% of payments in value were digital in 2021. The number in 2022 is probably higher,” Mr. Medalla said. 

“Financial inclusion is rising. If we had waited for banks to onboard them, it would have taken at least five more years (to reach our goal),” he said.

However, poor internet connectivity remains a challenge in the country, Mr. Medalla said.

“But be that as it may, there has been a tremendous increase in merchant payments, P2P (person-to-person) payments. Now, salaries and wages are even being done electronically,” he added.

The BSP wants 50% of volume and value of retail transactions done digitally by the end of this year under its Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap. — Keisha B. Ta-asan