The Philippines is enhancing its digital payment capabilities. Source: Shutterstock

The Philippines is enhancing its digital payment capabilities. Source: Shutterstock

Philippines launches e-payment systems en route to be cash-lite

THERE is a significantly increasing dependency on e-payment systems as the service is proven to be convenient, economical, and safe — in Southeast Asia and around the world.

The Philippines, for example, understands this well and has been actively making efforts to streamline transactions and payments in the country.

Recently, the country’s Central Bank (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno announced that the Philippines aims to be cash-lite by 2023.

Following the country’s ongoing digital transformation program, the BSP has launched digital payment systems namely ‘eGov Pay’ and ‘QR PH’, to expand its digital capabilities.

eGov Pay is expected to support the government’s aspirations to collect taxes and other governmental fees online using resident’s PESOnet accounts.

Both systems will also see government bodies participating in efforts to empower a more digital society and accelerate the BSP’s transformation journey.

Currently, only two government agencies are utilizing the online payment systems but the adoption rate is expected to increase by 2023.

Although the country will not be able to completely relieve its dependency on cash and rely only on digital payments, the efforts represent significant milestones to encourage cashless transactions.

According to BSP’s Diokno, the rate of cashless transactions occurring across the country is currently around 30 percent. Being higher than the forecasted 20 percent, the better performance is an encouragement to the country’s efforts to go digital.

Diokno also expressed confidence in the country’s journey to be cash-lite, “I am confident that by 2023, if we all work together, we will have 100-percent [eGov Pay] coverage – that’s a promise.”

Apart from the Philippines, it is clear that various countries in Asia are actively leveraging digital capabilities and promoting different levels of digital maturity.

However, a key digital feature that must be tackled by developing countries in Southeast Asia to truly accelerate the transformation process is the payment systems.

In short, to drive digital transformation efforts across the country, government bodies — aside from private sectors — must push forward initiatives to adopt, implement and deploy technology solutions effectively to truly develop a proficient digital society.