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Progress in the Philippines’ Digital Financial Landscape

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In its 30th year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is steadfast in its commitment to adopting global central banking standards and transitioning towards a digital financial system while upholding the pillars of price stability, financial stability, and an efficient payments and settlements system in the Philippines.

Over the decades, successive amendments to Republic Act (RA) No 7653, also known as the New Central Bank Act, have fortified the BSP’s capabilities to fulfil its primary objective of maintaining price stability conducive to sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

These consistent efforts have empowered individuals and businesses in the Philippines to make informed decisions regarding savings, borrowing, and investments, bolstering their confidence in the stability of the Philippine currency.

As the world grappled with unprecedented challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic, the BSP’s perspective evolved. The BSP Governor Eli Remolona Jr emphasised the central bank’s role in ensuring access to banking services, enhancing financial literacy, and safeguarding the public from fraud and cybersecurity threats.

He expressed optimism about the Philippines’ readiness for a more digitalised financial landscape, underscored by the substantial increase in digital payment usage over the past five years.

The BSP recognises the importance of these central banking facets in fostering inclusive and sustainable economic growth, ensuring that individuals in remote provinces enjoy the same financial services as those in urban areas like Metro Manila.

According to the 2022 Status of Digital Payments BSP Report, digital payments accounted for 42.1% of total retail payments by volume, marking a significant increase from 30.3% in 2021. In terms of value, digital payments represented 40.1%, a slight dip from 44.1% in 2021.

The BSP remains committed to innovative programmes and initiatives that bring it closer to the Filipino people. Some noteworthy initiatives include the Polymerisation of Banknotes, the Paleng-QR Ph Plus Programme, the Coin Deposit Machine (CoDM) Project, the Check-Protect-Report (CPR) Campaign, the Open Finance PH Pilot, Financial Education Stakeholders Expo and the Regulatory Sandbox Framework.

In April 2022, the BSP initiated the test circulation of 1000-Piso polymer banknotes. These high-tech banknotes offer Filipinos smarter, cleaner, and more secure currency options that are resistant to counterfeiting and more hygienic than paper bills.

Paleng-QR Ph Plus Programme is a collaborative effort between the BSP and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to encourage the adoption of digital payments in local markets, public transportation, and other establishments.

By encouraging the public to deposit idle coins into CoDMs, this project aims to promote efficient coin recirculation, address artificial coin shortages, and ensure the availability of fit and legal tender currency, while the BSP’s CPR information drive protects consumers from online scams and fraudulent activities as digital banking and e-commerce grow.

The Financial Education Stakeholders Expo brings together over 1,000 advocates to foster collaboration in financial education programmes; and the Open Finance PH Pilot aims to establish an open finance system, helping the unbanked build financial profiles, access a range of financial products, and develop credit histories.

Further, the Regulatory Sandbox Framework allows BSP-Supervised Financial Institutions and third-party service providers to offer innovative financial products and services in a controlled environment.

Beyond its digitalisation efforts, the BSP has championed green and sustainable policies in the financial system. By nurturing a regulatory environment conducive to sustainable growth, the central bank ensures a smooth transition into a post-pandemic, digital economy.

BSP Governor Eli stated that the BSP is considered an innovator among central banks worldwide, driven by its commitment to service. As the BSP continues its journey towards digital transformation, it promises sustained economic growth and sustainability for Filipinos, marking a new era of financial opportunity and inclusion for the nation.


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