BSP eyes ‘offline’ digital payments for off-grid areas

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THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) wants digital payment solutions to be available offline as well to further its financial inclusion initiatives, especially for off-grid areas.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Central Bank bared its plan to offer offline digital payment solutions that can allow transactions without using Internet connection.

BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said that “while an effective and reliable Internet connectivity is a necessary condition for digital finance to flourish, the central bank is also pursuing digital solutions to enable offline payment.”

The BSP said they are working on this initiative in line with its Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap (DPTR). It seeks to make 50 percent of the volume of retail payments in digital form, and to onboard 70 percent of Filipino adults to the formal financial system by 2023.

This is among the digital reforms discussed by Diokno during the Philippine Economic Society’s (PES) virtual conference, which was attended by representatives from the private and public sectors and academe.

Recently, the BSP encouraged the public to send cash gifts via digital wallets this holiday season.

“Digital wallets offer a safe, secure, efficient, and convenient way to transfer funds to family and friends during this season of giving,” he said, noting that is “highly recommended” because it eliminates physical contact.

“Digital wallets offer a safe, secure, efficient, and convenient way to transfer funds to family and friends during this season of giving,” BSP added.

In an October report, BSP noted that digital payments continue to rise in the country, achieving its 20-percent target in 2020.

The Central Bank noted that the monthly payments volume in digital platforms rose to 20.1 percent by the end of last year, which it considered a “substantial improvement” from 17 percent in the first semester of 2020.

The value of digital payments also rose to 26.8 percent from 25 percent during the same period.

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