COVID-19 pandemic highlights 'increasing importance' of digital transactions: BSP

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 08 2020 01:27 PM

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) new governer, Benjamin Diokno at work shortly after an interview with Cathy Yang for ANC’s The Boss, held at the BSP headquarters in Manila on March 12, 2019. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 have given electronic payments a boost, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Gov. Benjamin Diokno said Wednesday.

The volume and value of InstaPay in April to May grew 57 percent, while the volume for PesoNet surged "significantly" by 325 percent, Diokno said in a pre-State of the Nation forum.

"Our experience with COVID-19 highlighted the increasing importance of digital transactions," Diokno said

"It is observed that the volume and value of the combined transactions of Pesonet and Instapay during the lockdown surged while the volume and value of check payments and ATM withdrawals declined," he added.

Electronic payments enhances speed, convenience and affordability of financial transactions, he said. 

The electronic features under the National Retail Payment System is part of the BSP's mandate to ensure a safe and efficient payment system, he said. The NRPS was launched in 2015. 

The entire island of Luzon, home to roughly half of the country's 100 million population, was placed under lockdown in March to contain the spread of COVID-19. 

Metro Manila transitioned to general community quarantine on June 1, emerging from one of the world's longest lockdowns.

The BSP is also pushing for the adaption of the national QR code standard, Diokno said. 

Global health experts also recommended the use of cashless or electronic payment to lessen contact with cash.