By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — In pushing for equal access to financial services, Senator Win Gatchalian said such a move will boost the digitalization of financial transactions in the country.
“Itinutulak sa ating bansa ang financial inclusion dahil less than 20 percent lang ng populasyon natin ang may bank account. Halos lahat talaga ay cash ang ginagamit pero sa ganitong panahon, lalo na’t may pandemya, electronic na ang ginagamit at ‘yan ang future sa digital banking at payments. Dyan na rin papunta ang karamihan sa ibang bansa ,” the Vice Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies said.
Gatchalian is eyeing a bill called “One Filipino, One Bank Account” mandating the opening of a bank account or virtual wallet for every Filipino that will serve as a payment platform of the government in distributing financial aid, including educational assistance and medical assistance among many others, adding that the bill that he plans to file will not require minimum deposit amount.
In making every Filipino a bank account or virtual wallet holder, Gatchalian said more Filipinos will be able to engage in cashless transactions or digital payments which have been the norm since the COVID-19 pandemic set in last year.
In the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) financial inclusion survey, it said that those who used their account for payment transactions more than doubled to 39% in 2019 from 18% in 2017. They cited that most of those transactions are receipts of salary and government benefits while for those who do not use their account for payments, the topmost reason is preference for cash transactions, followed by lack of awareness that an account can be used for payments.
The said survey also showed that internet or mobile banking significantly lags behind other modes of transactions for all types of accounts. Bank and e-money accounts are mostly transacted via automated teller machines (ATMs) and only marginally are via online or mobile platforms. Over the counter (OTC) is the most commonly used mode of transaction for all other types of accounts. Microfinance non-government organization (NGO) accounts registered the lowest use of ATMS.
“Sa pagbubukas ng sariling account o virtual wallet, ang mga tao ay matututo ng kahalagahan ng pagma-manage ng pera at pag-iimpok. Dapat ito ay may kaakibat na din na pagtuturo sa mga ordinaryong Pilipino ng pamamaraan ng paghahawak ng pera, ipon, at mga gastusin,” Gatchalian said. (AI/MTVN)