By Lawrence Agcaoili | The Philippine Star
May 19, 2023
MANILA, Philippines — The value of electronic fund transfers coursed through the PESONet and InstaPay jumped by 30.1 percent to hit P3.81 trillion in the first four months of the year from P2.92 trillion in the same period last year, as more Filipinos turn to digital channels for their financial transactions.
Latest data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed the combined volume of electronic fund transfers soared by 28.5 percent to 247.7 million from January to April this year versus last year’s 192.8 million.
During the period, the value of PESONet transactions grew by 25.5 percent to P2.36 trillion from a year-ago level of P1.88 trillion. For April alone, it increased by 16.3 percent to P556.1 billion from P477.9 billion in the same month last year as volume inched up by five percent to 6.95 million from 6.62 million.
On the other hand, the value of InstaPay transactions from January to April this year also jumped by 39.4 percent to P1.45 trillion versus last year’s P1.04 trillion as volume surged by 31.2 percent to 218.33 million from 166.41 million
For April, the value of InstaPay transfers jumped by 40.9 percent to P377.2 billion from P267.7 billion as volume grew by 35.6 percent to 58.35 million from 43.02 million.
PESONet and InstaPay are automated clearing houses launched in December 2015 under the BSP’s National Retail Payment System (NRPS) to promote a safe, efficient, affordable, inclusive, and reliable retail payment system.
PESONet enables high-value transactions and may be considered as an electronic alternative to the paper-based check system, while InstaPay is a real-time, low value electronic fund transfer facility for transactions of up to P50,000, and is most useful for remittances and e-commerce.
Last year, the combined value of PESONet and InstaPay transactions jumped by 36 percent to P9.94 trillion from P7.24 trillion in 2021 as volume increased by 21 percent to 633.46 million from 523.59 million.
BSP Deputy Governor Mamerto Tangonan, in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel, said that the banking sector processes more than half a billion transactions a year and which continues to grow.
Tangonan said more and more Filipinos are realizing that electronic fund transfers are credited very, very quickly versus face-to-face transactions.
“Even the central banks in the region would want to bring that advantage and extend that through people to people transactions between these ASEAN countries,” he said.
Aside from e-commerce, he explained that digitalization helps micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), as well as the tourism sector.
“We have a large intra-ASEAN population of migrant workers. So, it would be good for these people to be able to send money to their family and friends back here in a more affordable and even in a faster way,” Tangonan said.
Under its Digital Payment Transformation Roadmap, the central bank aims to shift 50 percent of total retail transactions to electronic channels and onboard at least 70 percent of Filipino adults to the financial system through the ownership and use of a transaction account by 2023.
With the COVID-19 pandemic serving as catalyst, the share of digital payments to total retail transactions increased to 30.3 percent in 2021 from 20.1 percent in 2020. Prior to the launch of the NRPS, the share of electronic payments to total retail transactions stood at only one percent in 2013.
Likewise, the number of banked Filipino adults almost doubled to 56 percent in 2021 from 29 percent in 2019.