- BSP’s comparative data revealed an increase of e-payment usage among Filipinos.
- PESONet and InstaPay use have grown in the time of COVID-19.
- Uptake on the use of e-payment is expected by BSP over the next 3 years.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) have noted growing users of e-payment in the time of COVID-19 in the Philippines.
Comparative data before and during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) reflected downward trend on the check-based and cash-based financial transactions of businesses, households, and individuals, especially within March 1 to 16 and March 17 to April 2, respectively.
The data, which also showed a decline in the volume and value of check payments and ATM withdrawals, demonstrated a clear opportunity on the use of digital payment channels and services, such as PESONet and InstaPay.
BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno have emphasized the importance of shifting consumer behavior from conventional over the counter transaction towards e-payments in order to protect the people from the health risk posed by COVID-19.
The national government declared a nationwide ECQ to regulate movement of people and to protect them from contracting the novel Coronovirus. The limitation hampered financial transactions at the early stage of the ECQ but it prompted Filipinos to gradually to shift to e-payment – a method which was encouraged by the BSP Governor earlier on – stating that it is accessible, convenient, and secure.
According to the BSP, e-payment services have allowed individuals and organizations to easily transfer money from their accounts to any recipient account with any participating financial institution around the country. The transaction can be done through online banking using mobile applications or e-wallets as long as any of the digital device is connected on the internet.
PESONet and InstaPay are electronic funds transfer (EFT) services offered by BSP-supervised financial institutions for their account holders. These EFT mechanisms were established under the National Retail Payment System, a policy framework issued by the BSP in 2017 to provide an enabling environment for a safe, efficient, affordable, and inclusive digital finance ecosystem.
PESONet is appropriate for high value transactions of companies, other businesses, government entities, and individuals while InstaPay is used for urgent and small value retail transactions. Fees for these services have in fact been waived for the duration of the ECQ period.
The volume of e-payment transactions in the Philippines grew from 1% in 2013 to 10% in 2018. The value of these e-payments also increased from 8% to 20% over the same period.1 These figures indicate that Filipinos are gaining awareness on the effectiveness of e-payment scheme even before Covid-19.
The BSP is anticipating an uptake on the use of e-payment services in the Philippines over the next three years.
1 Better than Cash Alliance at https://www.betterthancash.org/tools-research/case-studies/country-diagnostic-the-philippines-2019-edition