How Filipinos are embracing digital technology amid the coronavirus pandemic
Whilst the coronavirus pandemic has led to the era of social distancing, it has also increased awareness about the many advantages of digital payment methods. At WorldRemit, we are experiencing close to 150% year-on-year growth in new customers, with more people sending remittances to multiple recipients around the world through our international payment service.
Remittances are an essential source of income for millions of families as remitters play a key role in the social and economic development of their countries. In its 2020 Migration and Development Report, the World Bank revealed that Filipinos sent remittances of over US$33 billion back home in 2019. The report also reveals that the World Bank expects remittances to the Philippines to fall by as much as 20%. The Philippines’ Central Bank, the Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas (BSP) has also revised its remittance growth target down to 2% of GDP, due to job losses resulting from the global pandemic. In spite of this, the World Bank states that Filipino migrants have historically increased support for loved ones back home during crises, referring to the bird flu outbreak of 2003 as an example.
WorldRemit is the leading provider of remittances to mobile money wallets across the world. This service is helping millions of the unbanked, which accounts for over 70% of the Philippine population, according to the BSP’s 2017 Financial Inclusion survey. We’ve recently enabled money transfers into over 40 million GCash, Paymaya and Coins.ph wallets and our customers can now remit up to PHP 100,000 per month, per wallet to these providers.
Metrobank Executive Vice President and Head of Retail Banking, Mr. Richard So said, “Many Filipinos still do not have bank accounts. Hence, aside from our existing “Send to Metrobank Accounts service”, we are now able to allow transfers to leading Philippine mobile wallets with WorldRemit. This enables those many unbanked Filipinos to receive vital support from their loved ones abroad so they can pay their household bills and general provisions. Being able to access their funds conveniently without having to leave their houses or handle physical cash is deemed necessary during these challenging times. This partnership with WorldRemit is aligned with the Bank’s goal to continuously provide meaningful solutions that will help Filipinos save up and manage their hard-earned money wherever they may be. I am confident that these remittance services will lead to greater financial inclusion in our society.”
Through our broad range of partnerships, senders abroad can continue to make instant transfers to accounts at over 60 banks in the Philippines (see full list here) including BDO, Metrobank, BPI, Landbank and PNB. They can also make transfers to digital banks such as CIMB Philippines (including GSave accounts) and ING or to recipients’ savings accounts at several rural banks including Cebuana Lhuillier Rural Bank.
“We are delighted to partner with a company like WorldRemit that shares our values and is committed to helping Filipinos to access the support they need, whilst helping customers to stay safe and observe social distancing rules. It is important that Filipinos have convenient, safe, and secure options to receive the funds sent by their loved ones overseas. Our BPI Padala Moneyger account for remittance beneficiaries, allows them to receive remittances from the comfort of their homes whilst managing their funds via online and mobile banking. Our partnership with WorldRemit has been a lifesaver for our customers especially during this pandemic.” said Melinda Dulay, Inward Remittance Head of BPI.
The BSP is actively promoting digital payments through the Instapay and Pesonet interbank switches along with the introduction of a national “Quick Response” code to facilitate contactless payments. These technology-enabled channels are in line with the BSP’s aims of boosting financial inclusion in the country and increasing digital payments to 30% of total retail transactions by the end of this year.
The Philippines remains a cash-reliant society where the majority of people still prefer to use this method of payment. WorldRemit, therefore, continues to work with our cash pick up partners to ensure continuity of this service at over 25,000 locations nationwide (via any branches of M. Lhuillier, Cebuana, Metrobank, PSBank, LBC, BDO (including BDO Remit Counters at SM Malls), BDO Network Bank and Bank of Commerce or at any locations of Palawan, Perahub, TrueMoney, RD or Villarica Pawnshops).
We remain committed to helping customers support their loved ones, especially during this coronavirus pandemic through providing a convenient, safe and secure service. Although the pandemic is leading to many changes in our society, it will not shake the strong bayanihan spirit among Filipinos. We want to make sure as many people as possible can continue to support their loved ones. To that end until 31st August 2020, we are waiving fees for new customers on their first 3 transactions through our 3FREE promotion.
Our money transfer services are available from over 50 countries to the Philippines 24×7. Download the WorldRemit app or visit our website (www.worldremit.com) for more details.
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