By Zsarlene B. Chua

OUT OF THE 49 million Filipinos who do some form of money transfer — traditional or cashless — 4.9 million have used GCash, according to a GCash-commissioned Nielsen study.

“There are 39.7 million [Filipinos] who are still into exclusive cash-to-cash transfer and who have not tried a cashless solution. There are 2.9 million non-mobile wallet cashless remitters as well. These present a lot of potential for mobile wallets to expand and capture large, untapped segments,” said Anthony Thomas, Mynt President and CEO, said in a statement.

Mynt (Globe Fintech Innovations Inc.) is the fintech arm of Globe Telecom and operates GCash.

Part of the results of the commissioned study was presented in a press conference on Thursday at the Milky Way Cafe in Makati City, though reporters were not given copies of the study.

The study was commissioned in January and included qualitative interviews within the Nielsen Philippines office and qualitative interviews with “around 500” participants “in specific target areas” GCash specified, Krisia Cruz, head of P2P (Send Money) of GCash, told BusinessWorld during the press conference.

Some of the cities included in the survey were cities in Metro Manila, Cebu and Iloilo.

The study showed only 6.4 million Filipinos have used or are using mobile wallets for fund transfers among the estimated 49 million who have transferred funds.

Much of the fund transfers are for allowances, comprising 59% of transactions followed by remittances at 27% and 14% for payments.

With this huge untapped market, GCash is pushing for “simple entry points” in order to encourage more users to use e-wallets for fund transfers.

“[Going cashless requires] an ecosystem. You need simple entry points. For users, you need maybe a lighter version of the app (for devices that can’t handle too many apps and for slower internet connections)…you need financial literacy,” said Frederick Levy, Mynt chief commercial officer for transfers, explaining that despite barriers, he is seeing “a massive increase in the initiative in order to crack this market.”

He added that a National ID system will greatly help the cashless ecosystem as it will make for easier verification of users.

“[A National ID system] will help definitely [to make for easier] KYC (know your customer) processes,” he said.

Mr. Levy added that a simple yet thorough KYC process also makes it easier for banks to verify their users.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has started piloting the National ID system last month in Metro Manila with a goal of enrolling the entire population in the system by 2022.

“We are now working with some banks on what we call KYC reliance. That means because you’re [verified] with us, they accept our KYC as their KYC,” Mr. Levy said.

He said next year, they are working on features which include allowing existing users see which of their contacts or friends are on GCash.