PH to double financial inclusion, hit digital payment goal ahead of 2023 schedule – Diokno
MANILA, Philippines — The number of Filipinos with bank, electronic money, or other digital transaction accounts will likely double by the end of 2022 – earlier than the 2023 financial inclusion goal set by the central bank – given present adoption trends.
Thus said Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno who yesterday outlined the initiatives being taken by regulators to bring more of the country’s citizens into the formal banking system as a means to speeding up the government’s property reduction efforts.
“Our goal is that at least 70 percent of Filipino adults should have a bank account by 2023,” he said, speaking during an online forum hosted by Standard Chartered Bank recently. “But with the pandemic, we’re optimistic that we can meet this goal as early as December-2022.”
At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the regulator estimated that only around 35 percent of Filipinos owned bank accounts, electronic wallets, or other forms of accounts that allowed them to make digital payments.
On top of the goal of doubling this by the end of his term as governor in 2023, Diokno also wants to see at least half of all payments for retail transactions in the local financial system settled electronically, from the current level of less than 20 percent.
“My personal goal is that half of financial transactions in the country should be digital by 2023, the end of my term,” he explained. “But with enabling regulations and the pandemic, this may be achieved sooner—perhaps by the end of 2022.”
These twin thrusts were given fresh impetus by the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns that made it more challenging to transact in person, along with the rise of the online shopping phenomenon.
“Amid these encouraging developments, the BSP has kept a sober eye on risks accompanying the use of electronic data,” Diokno said, adding that regulators have launched a three-year Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap, which is anchored on promoting access to financial products through digital platforms, with appropriate safeguards.
The roadmap’s three pillars are the development of digital payment streams; the establishment of interoperable digital payments ecosystem; and the implementation of digital governance standards for consumer protection.
“With the roadmap, we expect digital banks to play a key role in expanding access to a broad range of financial services,” he said. “The BSP will be introducing digital banks as a distinct bank classification. All these initiatives put the BSP at the forefront of the Philippines’ goal of becoming a more technologically driven economy.”
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