Digital payments adoption increasing in Philippines, according to central bank data

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PAYMAYA Philippines, Inc. said the adoption of e-wallets in the Philippines has grown stronger in 2018 to become more popular than credit cards, citing data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

In a statement Tuesday, the mobile wallet arm of PLDT, Inc. said BSP’s Financial Inclusion Dashboard showed there are 33 million e-money accounts recorded as of end 2018, a growth of 22% from end-2017.

PayMaya attributed the increase primarily to the convenience of opening an account (60%), absence of fees (54%) and “add money” feature (36%) among mobile wallets, as revealed in the company’s 2019 Consumer Brand study.

“Digital payments adoption is fast growing and PayMaya can attest to the Filipino consumers’ shift to e-wallet as their top payment method,” PayMaya Director and Head of Consumer Business Kenneth Palacios said in the statement.

The 2018 Financial Inclusion Dashboard of BSP showed the 33 million e-wallet users can be broken down as follows: 5 million active e-money wallet accounts, which grew 132.7% from in 2017, and 28 million prepaid cards that are linked to e-money accounts, which rose 12.5% from in 2017.

This tally is almost twice bigger than the adoption of credit cards, which stood at 9.4 million users in 2018, to reflect an 18% increase from in 2017.

“With majority of Filipinos still without bank accounts, PayMaya is the most viable option to allow them to have access to financial products to do financial transactions whether offline or online. It is providing consumers with a better way to pay other than cash and cards,” Mr. Palacios said.

PayMaya is managed by Voyager Innovations, Inc. — the digital arm of PLDT backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd.; Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR); International Finance Corp. (IFC) and IFC Emerging Asia Fund.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Denise A. Valdez