Whether you’re planning to visit the Philippines for the very first time or now call the country home, there are plenty of issues you will be keen to get to grips with.
Embracing the culture and customs may be high on your agenda, while you will also want to know how you can pay for a range of goods, services, and experiences. There have been some major developments on the latter front recently, as two recent studies have suggested that digital payments are taking off in a big way in the country.
Ready for cashless?
Earlier this month, BusinessWorld reported on a study published by the UK organization MoneyTransfers.com. The research asked people from a range of countries for their views on whether they are ready to embrace a cashless society, with 52 percent of Filipinos being open to the idea.
The percentage meant that the Philippines was joint sixth in terms of the nation’s most in favor of such a move, as it shared the spot with Italy. In comparison, India was found to be the country most open to going cashless, with 79 percent of people backing the idea. Malaysia was second with 65 percent, while the UAE and Indonesia were joint third with 63 percent. The likes of the UK and the USA were further down the list, with 26 percent and 24 percent, respectively.
The study also asked respondents if they had used cash less in recent months and 45 percent of people in the Philippines agreed with that statement. Thailand came out top on that question, with 57 percent of respondents saying they were using it less.
On the rise
Such findings provide an intriguing insight into the mood across the Philippines in terms of how we handle our money. They have also emerged after further research indicated that digital money transactions were on the rise in the country.
In the middle of February, PhilStar Global reported on figures from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, which suggested that both the volume and value of electronic money transactions had increased massively. The value of such transactions hit P974.1 billion between January and September last year, which was around 235 percent higher than 12 months earlier. In addition, the volume increased by 652.5 percent to reach 829.3 million.
The PhilStar Global report went on to discuss how more than 30 non-bank electronic money issuers – or EMIs – are now operating in the country, while it also made specific reference to the likes of GCash, PayMaya, and others like Alipay Philippines.
Embraced by many
So, while digital payments are seemingly on the rise, which sectors have gone on to really embrace the concept?
Looking specifically at GCash for the moment, its official site suggests that it can be used at more than 73,000 merchants. It also lists a range of different sectors and areas, touching upon the likes of convenience stores, retail, transportation, and food. Sticking with the latter, we also recently reported on the news that Rakuten Viber had partnered with GCash. It is hoped that the partnership will mean merchants on Viber’s FoodPH can make orders more convenient for consumers.
The GCash site also mentions entertainment as another area where its service can be used and this sector has shown it is open to digital payments in recent times. A good example of this can be seen in the world of online iGaming, as brands tend to support all kinds of different payment methods these days. For instance, Asiabet’s guide to online casinos in the Philippines outlines that e-wallets like Neteller and Skrill are popular with many people. It also suggests that this is because they offer quick and easy access to funds.
An interesting time
It is an interesting time for payments, as there seems to be a real sense that many people are moving away from traditional methods and embracing the digital age.
The Philippines has clearly been affected by the trend and it will be fascinating to see how this area goes on to evolve in the coming years. Will we reach a point when the country is truly ready to go completely cashless? We will just have to wait and see.