RIZAL COMMERCIAL Banking Corp. (RCBC) expects increased e-commerce spending amid the coronavirus pandemic to boost its credit card business.

RCBC Bankard Services Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer Arniel Vincent B. Ong said e-commerce spending rose in the first half of the year and is expected to continue as consumers become more at ease with making online payments.

Mr. Ong acknowledged that the prolonged lockdown has affected incomes, which could make it difficult for borrowers to pay their dues.

“Despite the challenges, we see opportunities in key areas of spend where customer demand is shifting to — essentials, e-commerce or online transactions, installments and cash loans,” he was quoted as saying in a statement.

Credit cards issued by RCBC Bankard in the first semester climbed 44% to 82,000. Meanwhile, credit card transactions rose 19% year on year to P26.4 billion in the same period.

The volume of bills payments made through the RCBC Online Banking app also increased by 2.5 times in the first semester from a year ago, Mr. Ong said.

He added that many cardholders opted for installment schemes to spread out payments for their big-ticket purchases.

The Yuchengco-led lender’s net profit surged 117.8% to P1.747 billion in the second quarter from P802 million a year earlier, backed by an increase in its net interest income and lower provisions for loan losses.

RCBC’s shares closed at P19.88 apiece on Thursday, up by 22 centavos or by 1.12% from its previous finish.