The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is looking at digital solutions to enable offline payments as part of its efforts to boost financial inclusion under the government’s Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap.
The solutions would enable financial transactions without the need for internet connections, boosting financial inclusion in off-grid areas.
The BSP believes 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 payments.
Under the roadmap, BSP aims to convert 50 percent of the volume of retail payments to electronic channels and onboard 70 percent of Filipino adults to the formal financial system by 2023.
BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno is confident the central bank can achieve those twin goals, as about 20.1 percent of monthly retail payments volume in the country are already in digital form as of the end of 2020. The BSP continues to collaborate with government counterparts to bolster the country’s digital finance infrastructure aimed at ensuring the reliable delivery of digital financial services and sustainability of related innovations.
The BSP and the Philippine Statistics Authority also support the mainstreaming of transaction accounts, particularly the Basic Deposit Account that is designed to meet the needs of the unbanked. Diokno earlier reported that a total of 5.6 million bank accounts have been opened for unbanked Filipinos from low-income households through a co-location scheme by the PSA and Land Bank of the Philippines.
Additionally, President Duterte’s Executive Order 127 signed in March promotes satellite broadband technologies to advance rural connectivity.
BSP’s efforts to promote the transition to digital payments that can boost much-needed financial inclusion in a country where millions remain unbanked and do not have access to financial services is laudable. The determination of the government agencies involved in this transformation has already been demonstrated and the technology that can support it is constantly improving. It is now up to Filipinos to take advantage of these offerings and financial services that can make life better, especially as the pandemic has accelerated the digitalization of the world.*