BSP: 1-in-5 monthly payment transactions now done online


ONE in five monthly payment transactions are now done online, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported on Thursday.

In a virtual briefing, BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno reported that the BSP achieved its  target of reaching 20 percent of digital payments volume by 2020, due largely to the behavior shift catalyzed by the pandemic.

According to the BSP’s latest data, 20.1 percent of monthly payments volume was done digitally by the end of 2020, improving from the 17-percent digital transactions in the first six months of last year.

The “20 percent by 2020” target was set when the National Retail Payment System (NRPS) was launched in 2015. The value of digital payments, likewise, substantially grew from 25 percent to 26.8 percent for the same period.

“The health protocols that entailed social mobility restrictions in response to the Covid-19 pandemic have emerged to be a strong catalyst for the wider adoption of digital payments in the country,” Diokno said. “More consumers are becoming digitally-engaged and have adapted to the use of digital payments for their financial transactions as shown by the sustained rise in the volume and value of merchant payments and remittances.”

The increased usage of digital payments was largely driven by high-frequency, low value retail transactions such as person-to-merchant payments and person-to-person (P2P) payments such as electronic fund transfers.

“While the Covid-19 pandemic may have disrupted our way of life, it also created exceptional opportunities to boost digital payments and financial inclusion in the country,” the central bank chief said.

Merchant payments surged by 47.8 percent in volume in 2020 from its volume in last year.

Significant contributors to the overall rise in digital payments volume include remittances, which grew by 18.1 percent and the payment of government institutions for salaries, and payroll, which registered an increase of 21.1 percent. The payment of salaries to government employees was fully digitized by the end of 2020.

Diokno vowed to continue pushing for digitization in the financial services sector, and said many projects are in the pipeline such as the PESONet multiple-batch settlement initiative.

“We remain committed to the economic empowerment of the Filipino people by giving them universal access to safe, affordable and convenient digital payment services,” the governor said.

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