BSP ramps up campaign to wean more Filipinos off cash transactions
The central bank wants to see more Filipinos making money transactions through electronic payments, given the health risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic to cash transactions.
It said, however, that for this to happen, people must first be made more aware about the risks and rewards of using digital financial services.
At a press briefing, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno said the BSP is strengthening its literacy campaign to enhance public trust in the digital finance ecosystem and promote the use of digital transactions locally.
“Digitial financial services play a vital role as the Philippines transitions into the new economy,” he said. “We see digital literacy as a necessary skill for Filipinos to enjoy convenient and safe financial transactions.”
These digital services included online account opening, money transfers, e-payments solutions, and other tech-supported financial transactions.
To promote their use, the central bank’s campaign seeks to educate consumers to improve familiarity with online platforms and achieve these:
- Reduce user errors, scams and fraud
- Mitigate risk of loss
- Promote consumer protection
- Ensure positive consumer experience
Health protocols during the enhanced community quarantine highlighted the importance of digital financial services when millions of people were kept at home.
According to the central bank, it looked at the 76 days before the lockdown was imposed across the country, versus 76 days during lockdown period and noticed these:
- Decline in check transactions by 67 percent in volume and 62 percent in value
- Decline in ATM withdrawals by 24 percent in volume and 13 percent in value
Amid a decline in check transactions and ATM withdrawals during the quarantine compared to pre-quarantine levels, electronic payments through the PESONet and InstaPay services of financial institutions grew by 74 percent and 42 percent in volume and value.
To help consumers comply with COVID-19 physical distancing guidelines, Diokno said the central bank’s campaign encourages the use of e-payments under its campaign hashtag, #SafeatHome sa E-Payments.
The literacy program is supported by financial technology and banking industry associations as well as e-payment advocates like the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Earlier, Diokno also urged Filipinos to be extra vigilant when transacting online to fend off the spike in cybercrime that has accompanied the local shift to digital banking.
“As more Filipinos take advantage of online payment, remittance and other technology-enabled financial services, we need to ensure that potential risks are well-managed,” he said. “Thus, we will continue to find innovative strategies to sustain the resilience of the financial services industry as we transition towards the new economy.’’
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