Digitized PH banks keep goverment, businesses running

By Lee C. Chipongian

Most banks are now digitized and are calling on all Filipinos – while at home during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) – to bank online and pay some dues as they come, if they want to.

The COVID-19 lockdown is no reason to delay paying tax dues for example, according to Union Bank of the Philippines. The digitized bank said individual taxpayers and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can pay their taxes online way before the May 15 deadline extension given by the government.

UnionBank, the only private bank with a Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) link, since last year has partnered with the BIR for a “direct, free and easy way” to pay taxes online, 24/7 and without re-routing to other websites.

UnionBank said it “made the call as the Department of Finance (DOF) appealed to taxpayers to pay their taxes early despite the extension of the payment deadline to May 15, 2020, to help the government generate the necessary funds to combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.”

“At this difficult time where the safety of the public is paramount, a proven, digital payment option where there is no physical contact is very much relevant,” said UnionBank president and CEO Edwin Bautista.

Security Bank Corp. and Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) are two more banks actively calling on the public to make use of online or digitized banking to continue their transactions.

RCBC, citing a 2019 Consumer Digital Banking Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, said more Filipinos are interested in digital banking and banks are investing heavily in technology.

Based on the survey, 21 percent of those who responded said they were planning to open a new deposit account and this was 46 percent Gen Zers and 26 percent millennials.