BSP exec cites need for digital payments

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) governor Benjamin Diokno. BLOOMBERG
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) governor Benjamin Diokno. BLOOMBERG

MANILA – Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is considering Filipinos’ strong acceptance of the online world as a way to push for the central bank’s digital payments and financial inclusion programs.

Citing the results of the September 2019 Global Web Index Report, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) governor Benjamin Diokno said more than 69 percent of Filipinos aged 16 to 64 years old are internet users, and 62 percent of them made online purchases through mobile phones.

“The digital life is upon us, and we can harness this to make sure internet access and mobile phone ownership do not only lead to better social connections and convenient shopping but also and more importantly, to greater ability for all Filipinos to use welfare-enhancing financial services,” Diokno said in his speech during the financial inclusion forum for the labor sector held at the BSP office in Manila on Monday.

The central bank chief thus cited the need to ensure that all Filipinos will have access to transaction accounts that will enable them not only to save but also to make digital payments.

“Our vision is to have more market vendors, jeepney, and tricycle drivers accepting digital payments through QR (Quick Response) code linked to transaction accounts,” he said.

Diokno said the use of QR codes is safer than bringing cash since people are less vulnerable to theft and counterfeit money.

Employers also benefit from the use of QR codes since they can use this to pay their employees through the use of the PESONet, which is one of the two real-time electronic payment systems under the National Retail Payment System (NRPS).

Diokno said the increase in the number of digital payments will result in a “rich digital footprints that can be used by banks, fintechs, and other lenders in evaluating and granting credit.”

“This means people can have better and wider financing options,” he said.

Citing official data, Diokno said there are about 25.5 million workers in the country and this is “a massive client base that is hard to ignore for both financial service providers and policymakers in our pursuit of our financial inclusion agenda.”

“We are living in a most remarkable time as we see our country enjoying continued strong economic growth with digitalization becoming a critical enabler of economic and financial inclusion. I hope that together, we can seize these opportunities and enable all Filipinos to reap the benefits of our economic growth and achieve prosperity for all,” he added. (PNA)

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