Digital payments surge, check payments decline

BANGKO Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Gov. Benjamin Diokno reported that digital payments surged, while check payments and automatic teller machine (ATM) withdrawals declined in 2020.

“Digitalization is among a few things that helped us continue with our daily lives during the pandemic. Imagine the risk of exposure if one had to physically pay bills and buy food, medicines and other essential supplies,” Diokno said during the Ulat ng BSP sa Bayan on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021.

He reported that PesoNet transfers surged to P15.3 million in 2020, up by 376 percent year-on-year.

The value of PesoNet transactions rose by 188 percent year-on-year, to reach nearly P951.6 billion, which is about 5.3 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

In the same year, the number of payments made through InstaPay reached P86.7 million, up by 459 percent year-on-year.

Transactions were valued at P463.4 billion, which was a 340-percent increase year-on-year and equivalent to about 2.6 percent of GDP.

InstaPay allows real-time online or mobile fund transfers of up to P50,000 per day per account while PesoNet allows transfers of up to P20 million subject to a bank’s maximum amount per transaction limit.

“It is a good thing that the country had been gradually embracing financial technology even before the pandemic hit. For me, it prepared us for the worst,” Diokno said.

On the other hand, he said new online sign-ups and app downloads for digital financial services doubled in the period January to April 2020 year-on-year.

With Filipinos more mindful about their health and safety amid the lockdown, Diokno said there was also a significant decline in the value and volume of check payments and ATM withdrawals between the first half of March 2020 and from the second half of March to May 2020.

Likewise, coin demand in 2020 fell by 57 percent in volume and 60 percent in value compared to 2019.

More accessible and more convenient e-payment options may have partly contributed to the decline aside from softer economic activities during the period.

“The expanded role of digital payments in 2020 is worthy of note,” Diokno said. (JOB)