Philippines: E-payments gaining ground – BSP

DIGITAL payments took a larger share of retail payments last year in both volume and value, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BPS) reported on Wednesday.

By volume, e-payments accounted for 30.2 percent of all transactions, up from 20.1 percent in 2020. In value terms, meanwhile, they comprised 44.1 percent from 26.8 percent previously.

“The latest results show we are closer to meeting our objective of converting at least 50 percent of retail payment transactions to digital form by the end of 2023 under the BSP Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap,” central bank Governor Felipe Medalla said in a statement.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) remittances, merchant payments and business payments of salaries and wages to employees — described as “high-frequency, low-value retail transactions” — were cited as having driven growth.

Merchant payments were said to have increased by 43.8 percent in volume while P2P remittances surged by 268.6 percent. Payments for salaries and wages also accelerated by 170.2 percent over the course of the year, which the BSP said showed that firms were moving away from traditional cash payments.

The jump in the use of account-to-account electronic cash transfers can also be attributed to customers’ shifting preferences, the central bank added. It noted that during the pandemic, Filipinos who had accounts were able to perform financial transactions utilizing their mobile devices in the comfort of their homes.

“This capability for digital transactions should be within reach of every Filipino in our increasingly digital economy,” Medalla said.