PH seen achieving digital payment, financial inclusion goals

A central bank official is optimistic of the continued increase of digital payments and transaction account ownerships especially with the pandemic, in line with the country’s 2023 financial inclusion goal.

Ellen Joyce Suficiencia, director of the Financial Inclusion Office at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), said the push for financial inclusion is inseparable from BSP’s push for digital payments.

“As these goals are considered mutually reinforcing, the ongoing pandemic has no doubt been a catalyst for these goals. As people and businesses shifted to online and remote transactions, owning transaction accounts became a necessity in order to make digital payments,” she said during a virtual webinar on the E-Commerce Entrepreneur Summit.

Suficiencia said under the Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap for 2020 to 2023, the BSP is targeting to achieve 70 percent account ownership among Filipino adults, and 50-percent share of digital payments in the total retail payment transactions in 2023.

“These are ambitious but achievable targets considering the trends that we are seeing now,” she added.

Suficiencia cited data showing that the share of digital payments in terms of volume has been steadily increasing from just 1 percent in 2013 to 17 percent as of mid-2020.

As of end June 2021, she said the combined PESONet and InstaPay transactions were higher by 395 percent in volume and 196 percent in value compared to pre-pandemic figures in March 2020, an indication of an increasing and strong uptick of digital payments.

“This development suggests the rapid adoption of digital payments in the country and with it, uptick in transaction accounts,” she said.

Suficiencia said owning an account is no longer optional for people who either by choice or circumstance will need to transact digitally.

“But beyond being a compelling reason for individuals and businesses to open accounts, digital payments can further boost financial inclusion by creating for the user a rich digital profile that can be harnessed to access other financial services, particularly credit,” she added.

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