Digital payments breach 30 percent in 2021

The share of digital payments to total retail payments volume in the Philippines rose to 30.3% in 2021 from 20.1% in 2020, according to the latest e-payments data of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

The value of digital payments in the country, meanwhile, represented 44.1 percent of total retail payments in 2021, up from the 26.8 percent recorded a year earlier.

“The latest results show we are closer to meeting our objective of converting at least 50 percent of retail payment transactions to digital form by the end of 2023, under the BSP Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap,” said BSP Governor Felipe M. Medalla.

The key contributors to the overall growth of digital payments were merchant payments, peer-to-peer (P2P) remittances, and business payments of salaries and wages to employees, all of which are high-frequency, low value retail transactions.

The volume of merchant payments increased by 43.8 percent, while P2P remittances grew by 268.6 percent.

Business payments of salaries and wages, meanwhile,  grew by 170.2 percent during the period. This indicates that for salary disbursements, businesses are transitioning from cash to digital channels, such as electronic fund transfers to bank or e-money accounts.

Moreover, the significant rise in the use of account-to-account electronic fund transfers could be seen as a result of expanding access to transaction accounts and the shifting preference of consumers toward the use of digital modes for payments.

During the pandemic, Filipinos who had accounts were able to safely and conveniently conduct financial transactions using their mobile devices in the comfort of their homes.

“This capability for digital transactions should be within reach of every Filipino in our increasingly digital economy,” the Governor noted.

“Hence, the BSP, with the support of the payments industry led by the Philippine Payments Management, Inc., continues to promote a vibrant and inclusive digital payments ecosystem where every Filipino can actively participate and enjoy its benefits,” he added.