ELECTRONIC PAYMENTS in the country are climbing. — PEXELS.COM

THE COUNTRY has seen a leap in moving towards a more digital economy with a significant growth in the volume of e-payments, according to a study cited by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, with Filipinos also becoming more trustful of online payments as the value of the transactions made have also inched up.

With more initiatives rolled out such as the EGov Pay facility as well QR Code PH, BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno is positive that the government is on track to meet its target to have 20% of transaction volumes done digitally.

In a press briefing held at the BSP on Monday, Mr. Diokno cited that the United Nations-based Better Than Cash Alliance report found that the volume of e-payments usage in the Philippines grew to 10% of total transactions in 2018 from just 1% in 2013.

The value of e-payments also rose, from comprising only 8% of total transactions in 2013 to 20% in 2018.

“As you can see, both usage and value increased indicating that it is not only being used more frequently, but also, it is trusted with bigger values,” Mr. Diokno said during the briefing.

The study also found that women (27%) have been using e-payments more than men (22%). Women also dominate men in terms of account ownerships as 39% of respondents said they own an account, while only 30% of male respondents own at least one account.

This finding may be attributable to underlying cultural norms in the country, according to BSP Managing Director for the Financial Technology Subsector Vicente T. de Villa III.

“Households are generally led by the woman of the house… In Filipino households, that would be the case. That could be a huge driver for that,” he said during the briefing.

The study looked into different user-cases that involved transactions between payers and payee from the government, businesses, and individuals from across the country.

BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier said the central bank is looking towards an inclusive growth in e-payments from across the country.

“The more the growth could be observed also outside Metro Manila, the better,” she said.

In the next few years, the BSP is banking on new initiatives that could support the growth of both the volume and value of digital payments.

“There would be many cases… Taxpayers paying BIR, merchants, government giving grants to 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program), that will also be electronic. The private sector buys [through e-payments…] also with the transport system… You can now pay tricycle in QR or jeepney with your QR code…,” Mr. Diokno said, noting that such transactions will buoy the growth of e-payments.

Both the EGovPay Facility — which will soon onboard more government agencies into the scheme aside from the Bureau of Internal Revenue which already offers online tax payments — and the QR PH were launched in November.

With these, Mr. Diokno thinks the central bank’s target for the Philippines to become a cash-lite society is within reach.

“That also has an impact by the way [because] from a cash-heavy society we intend to be a cash-lite society. We don’t need to print as many peso bills as before or come up with many coins as before because people will be using their cellphones,” he said.

The BSP is eyeing to make 20% of transaction volumes digital by 2020.

Meanwhile, they target to have 30% of transactions online, showing that people are already banking on the credibility of doing transactions digitally. — Luz Wendy T. Noble