CONTACTLESS PAYMENT Digital and growing

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    These initiatives support the goals of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to increase the share of digital payments to 50 percent of all retail transactions and expand financial inclusion to 70 percent of Filipino adults by 2023

    Government’s call for a shift to contactless payment and transactions meant to help prevent the spread of coronavirus disease has driven the strong adoption of digital payment in the country.

    And though there was much of a hullabaloo involving glitches in the contactless payment program at the tollways recently, without doubt the pandemic has only hastened the inevitable: Digital payment was on its way, anyway. It just got quicker getting here.

    PLDT’s digital payment service provider Paymaya Philippines and Globe Telecom Inc. digital wallet provider Gcash, have reported significant growth in number of users, transaction volume and revenues last year.

    Both are optimistic to further sustain growth this year, and with good reason.

    As of end 2020, over 60 percent of mobile subscribers have shifted to digital payment.

    GCash had 33 million users and PayMaya had 28 million. These numbers represent over 60 percent of the 151 million combined mobile subscribers of the two incumbent telcos.

    Gcash said it has passed over P1 trillion transaction last year, peaking at P7.5 billion daily gross transaction value with 33 million users, a 65 percent growth versus the previous year.

    “Aside from regular financial transactions such as money transfer and bills payments, we’ve noticed shifting behaviors on how money and digital money is being used, namely on entertainment, savings, donations, and online shopping,” said Martha Sazon, GCash president and chief executive officer crediting the mobile wallet’s quick pivot on user’s needs to further expand financial inclusion in the country through digital transformation.

    Meanwhile, the total digital payment transactions processed by PayMaya have tremendously grown as more sectors of society adopt cashless payments, making it the default for their transactions.

    “This radical shift to cashless for the Philippines will only continue accelerating in 2021 as we offer more services and forge more enterprise partnerships that are relevant for many consumers,” said Shailesh Baidwan, PayMaya president.

    These initiatives are also in support of the goals of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to increase the share of digital payments to 50 percent of all retail transactions and expand financial inclusion to 70 percent of Filipino adults by 2023, as part of its recently released Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap 2020-2023.

    According to the latest e-Conomy SEA 2020 report by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company, the average number of cash transactions by consumers declined from 48 percent pre-COVID-19 to 37 percent post-COVID-19.

    The frequency of e-wallet transactions rose from an average of 18 percent pre-COVID-19 to 25 percent post-COVID-19, the study said.