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Satellite tech to accelerate financial inclusion, digital finance

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas sees the issuance of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) on expanding the provision of internet service through satellite services as further promoting financial inclusion and digital finance in the country.

Issued under Department Circular No. 002, Series of 2021, by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on Sept. 28, the IRR aims to promote the development of an inclusive and vibrant satellite industry by liberalizing access to satellite systems.

Expanded access to satellite services is expected to accelerate the rollout of internet connectivity for the unserved, underserved, and geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas of the country.

With the issuance of the IRR, banks, fintech companies, and other financial sector entities will be further guided in exploring ways of tapping into satellite technology for their operations, particularly toward expanding presence in underserved communities.

“With enhanced countryside connectivity, we see previously unserved and underserved areas being reached by digital financial services, especially those designed for the lower income segments, like remittances, bills payments and the opening of transaction accounts,” BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said in a statement Thursday.

Internet connectivity is recognized as a critical enabler of financial and economic inclusion as financial transactions and services shift to online platforms. 

With expanded internet service, banks, and other financial service providers (FSPs) will be able to better serve rural areas with more access points, such as automated teller machines and cash agent services that rely on internet connectivity.

Meanwhile, with the launch of the Philippine Identification System and its electronic know-your-customer facility, greater internet access will allow more unbanked rural clients and low-income communities to use digital financial services and benefit from digital innovations.

Signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte in August 2018, Republic Act 11055, or the Philippine Identification System Act, aims to establish a single national ID for all Filipinos and resident aliens.

The national ID shall be a valid proof of identity that shall be a means of simplifying public and private transactions, enrollment in schools, and opening of bank accounts.

It will also boost efficiency, especially in dealing with government services where people will only need to present one ID during transactions. 

“These developments will contribute towards the BSP’s financial inclusion targets, namely that first, 70 percent of the adult population should own a transaction account, and second, that half of all retail payments should be in digital form by 2023,” Diokno said.

The BSP encourages FSPs to seek opportunities from this policy reform for innovation and market expansion toward accelerating financial inclusion in the country.*PNA

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