November 18, 2019
DIGITAL

Visa Says More Filipinos Embracing Cashless Transactions

By EDD K. USMAN, SDN, Twitter @edd1819, Instagram @bluestar0910, Facebook: SDN — Science and Digital News

CASHLESS transactions among Filipinos is flourishing.

In July 2018, the financial technology firm conducted its fifth edition of its Visa Consumers Payment Attitude.

The study involved 3,000 individuals across eight markets in Southeast Asia, 500 of them Filipino respondents, majority of them with banking accounts.

(In the Philippines, per the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas or BSP, or Central Bank of the Philippines, its 2017 Financial Inclusion Survey showed 52.8 million or 77.4 percent are unbanked, and only an estimated 15.8 million adult or 22.6 percent got bank accounts.)

Let’s hear it from Visa, a global payments technology company, particularly from Dan Wolbert, country manager for the Philippines.

It’s an encouraging development, to say the least.

“It is heartening to know that more Filipinos are seeing the benefits of using digital payments based on the findings from the study. Visa’s data also shows a similar trend, where we continue to see good double-digit growth in terms of spend and transactions made by Filipino cardholders,” Wolbert said.

Visa conceded that cashless transactions, however, can still stand improvement.

“There is still a lot of opportunity for cash displacement in the Philippines and we continue to work on a few priorities in the Philippines such as grow digital payments usage in the country and expand merchant acceptance footprint for digital payments,” he conceded.

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VISA. Country Manager Dan Wolbert of Visa Philippines. (Photo: SDN — Science and Digital News)

Consider figures from the Philippines:

Visa’s annual research established that 77 percent of Filipino respondents have voiced their plans that instead of cash, they would be using  more card payments.

What’s more, two out of three respondents in the country had consummated doing cashless in their transactions. On the other hand, about 60 percent already tried going cashless for a number of days.

Awareness and usage of contactless payments, one of the drivers of cashless transactions, as the study showed, have also seen growth over 2017 figures. In 2018, the Visa study showed that more than 80 percent of respondents are aware of contactless card payments, which is an 11 percent increase. More respondents also at 84 percent have indicated their readiness to go contactless in their payments.

“We have seen strong growth in contactless payments in the Philippines, especially after partnerships with key merchants, such as SM and Robinsons who have implemented contactless payments acceptance across their stores in the Philippines. We will continue to engage more merchants and banks to promote the benefits of contactless payments,” Dan said.

In terms of the transportation category, the Visa study also saw that Filipinos are generally open to using e-payments, a development that is being taken advantage of by some mass transport companies in Metro Manila.

According to the study, of 10 Filipinos, close to nine are generally supportive of e-payments for transportation involving rides on jeepneys, buses, trains, taxis and private car hires. The truth is that over half of the Filipino respondents were of the mind that using credit or debit cards for payments “is more convenient.”

As the Philippines strives to move ahead its digital transformation, the study found out Filipinos’ being open to future technology to pay their goods and services.

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“Such technology leverages on card-on-file payments or digital payments. Six in 10 respondents express interest in using AI (artificial intelligence) chatbots to order and make payments for their purchases.

“Ninety percent of respondents are also interested to use self-service checkout kiosks instead of going to cashier counters, and 72 percent of them prefer to use their payment cards, contactless payments or biometric payments,” said Visa.

In relation with this, Visa is further pushing cashless payments in the country through various initiatives.

Wolbert said these include “working with a range of partners…(and) focusing on new technologies for Filipinos.

In the study’s coverage are Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. For the Philippines respondents’ income levels ranged from Php12,000 to Php80,000 monthly, a reflection of the banked population.

The questions were conducted online in parts of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, the Philippines’ three biggest islands.

Although cashless payment mode among Filipinos is growing, paying cash is still the dominant mode for seven out of 10 people, and only 20 percent on e-payments.

For those who tried going cashless, two in three respondents did it for a week (13 percent), a few days (37 percent), and a day (22 percent).

At the same time, confidence in the security of cashless payments has already spiked: 74 percent of Filipinos agree on cashless payment method as more safe than doing it by cash; whether this confidence has become a boost, 75 percent of Filipinos indicated their preference to moving away from cash transactions, instead doing it cashless.

Wolbert, referring to study’s findings, said Filipinos are going cashless because of convenience and speed; safety, security and tracking; wider acceptance in stores; and special offers and rewards. (SDN)

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