E-payment transactions jump 30% in 2021 as Filipinos embrace cashless future

The share of digital payments to total retail payments volume in the Philippines rose to 30.3 percent last year from 20.1 percent in 2020, latest payments data of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed.

The value of digital payments in the country represented 44.1 percent of the 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,” BSP Governor Felipe Medalla said in a statement Wednesday.

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 jumped 43.8 percent, while P2P remittances surged 269 percent.

Business payments of salaries and wages, meanwhile, soared 170 percent during the period. This means that businesses are transitioning from cash to digital channels, such as electronic fund transfers to bank or e-money accounts to disburse salaries to employees.

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.

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