January 24, 2018, 9:14 am
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Online payment usage surges

PLDT Inc. unit Voyager Innovations yesterday said the number of unique PayMaya account holders who transacted online jumped almost three-fold in November to December 2017, compared to the same period the prior year. 

This points to the growing number of Filipinos who are getting comfortable in digital commerce as a viable option for holiday shopping, said PayMaya, the digital financial services arm of Voyager.

“While mall shopping is still the norm for most Filipinos, we saw a marked increase in online shopping among our mostly millennial user base during the 2017 holiday season,” said Paolo Azzola, PayMaya Philippines chief operating officer and managing director.  

Azzola noted a rise in online transactions recorded by PayMaya account holders when different online marketplaces such as Lazada, Zalora and Takatack launched their big online sales in November and December, wherein PayMaya also gave its account holders an added exclusive 20 percent discount.

PayMaya data showed in the last two months of 2017, online transactions via retail merchants like Lazada topped the list for PayMaya account holders.

Azzola said the steadily growing use of cashless payment methods in online retail sites suggests a noticeable shift of consumers who use alternatives such as PayMaya for their purchases, despite the availability of cash-on-delivery.

“On top of the online promo offerings, convenience and the worsening traffic in major cities are probably compelling more individuals to do their shopping online,” Azzola said, adding “consumers are also given flexibility by online merchants in terms of payment options, making online shopping a more attractive option.”

Adoption of digital payments and commerce has grown faster over the past two years as prepaid e-wallets regulated by the BangkoSentral ng Pilipinas(BSP) such as PayMayawere introduced. These digital wallets foster financial inclusion as any mobile phone user in the Philippines can create an account and use it for online transactions up to a certain amount limit. 

Latest available data from Better than Cash Alliance as of 2013 showed 99 percent of all payment transactions in the country are still done via cash. Electronic payments by businesses and individuals account for 1 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. 

While this figure has most likely grown over the past year, accelerating digital payments adoption remains a top agenda for the nation. The National Retail Payment System initiative led by the BSP and supported by banks and e-money issuers like PayMaya aims to increase cashless transactions to 20 percent of the total volume of payment transactions by 2020.   
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