BSP ramps up digital campaign to wean Pinoys off cash payments
The central bank wants to see more Filipinos making transactions through electronic payments, given the health risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic to cash transactions—but said that, for this to happen, the public must first be made more aware about the risks and rewards of using digital financial services.
In a press briefing, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno said the regulator was 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 include online account opening, money transfers, e-payments solutions and other tech-supported financial transactions. To foster their usage, the central bank’s campaign educates consumers to improve familiarity with online platforms; reduce usage errors, scams and frauds; mitigate risk of loss; promote consumer protection, and ensure positive customer experiences.
Health protocols during the enhanced community quarantine highlighted the importance of digital financial services.
According to the central bank, it looked at the 76 days before the lockdown was imposed across the country versus 76 days during the lockdown period. What it saw was a decline in check transactions by 67 percent in volume and 62 percent in value, as well as ATM withdrawals, which saw a 24-percent drop in volume and 13-percent decline in value during the period.
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, respectively.
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-payments advocates like the US 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.
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