December 10, 2022

A reliable Internet connection that is able to reach at the very least third-class municipalities is crucial in achieving the central bank’s thrust of lessening cash transactions by going digital in transactions that most Filipinos do on a daily basis.

While the pandemic has accelerated the usage of digital payments, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Spokesperson Rodora Openiano said at the launching of task force against online scams on Nov. 16, cash payments is still the preferred mode of payment of most Filipinos as many still do not have bank accounts from which payments can be deposited and drawn in digital transactions.

However, the BSP is taking advantage of that momentum by launching in urban areas a QR code-based digital payment system at public markets and public transportation.

Baguio is one of the first local government units in the country to adopt a QR payment system at its public market.

Openiano said the BSP QR payment system is convenient as it is interoperable regardless of the providers of digital payments as it uses national QR code standard or “QR Ph”.

“We are not abandoning cash transactions. The BSP thrust is to go cash lite, not cashless especially since the IT infrastructure of the Philippines is not yet fully developed,” Openiano said, underscoring that for Filipinos to fully embrace and appreciate digitization, reliable Internet connectivity that is able to reach even the municipalities is necessary.

Department of Information and Communications Technology focal person of cybersecurity Dun Vincent Bueno said the agency is working on improving digital infrastructure of the Philippines through the National Broadband Plan (NBP).

The NBP aims to provide a better telecommunications system in the country by increasing Internet speed by deploying fiber optic cables and wireless technologies.

Digital payments are being promoted because of its many benefits such as instant payment as it eliminates the need to go to physical stores or banks to pay; increased security because of the use of one time passwords and encryption, low risk of theft, contactless, and provides a record of transactions as opposed to cash where monitoring of how an individual spends his money is often unrecorded. – Rimaliza A. Opina

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