BSP: coin use drops, digital transactions increase due to Covid


The restrictions on the movement of people and products caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic has resulted in the rise of digital payments and a drop in coin demand in the country, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported on Thursday.


“Based on end-2020 data, coin demand fell by 60 percent in value and 57 percent in volume, year-on-year,” BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said in a virtual briefing.


Diokno said “while softer economic activity may have partly led to the drop, broadening access to safe and convenient e-payment options may have also contributed to the decline in coin demand.”


Citing earlier reports, Diokno said he was quoted as saying that the Philippines will be a coin-less society by 2025.


Diokno said the pandemic has greatly boosted the need for electronic payments (e-payments), with banks and other e-payment service providers introducing more innovations in this sphere to help the public who need to heed the movement restrictions.


He said combined transactions using the two real-time electronic payment systems under the BSP’s National Retail Payments System (NRPS) -PESONet and InstaPay surged by 10,802 percent in volume and 929 percent in value in end-2020 since the facilities’ launch about three years ago.


Combined transactions for these two increased by 122 percent in volume and 59 percent by value in the second quarter last year, or during the implementation of the strictest quarantine level – enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).


Diokno said the person-to-person (P2P) QR Ph transactions also increased by 5,678 percent, with value rising by 15,687, last December, or a year after its launch.


The BSP was aiming for e-payments volume in the Philippines to account for 20 percent of total transactions last year.


Diokno said the objective is to increase that to 50 percent by 2023.


“Preliminary numbers on the use of digital payments during the pandemic gives us reasons for optimism. We are likely to achieve our 50 percent target this year rather than later,” he added


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