BSP strengthens digital literacy drive

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said to educate more Filipinos in the use of digital financial services (DFS), they are strengthening their digital literacy program.

 “DFS play a vital role as the Philippines transitions into the ‘New Economy’. We see digital literacy as a necessary skill for Filipinos to enjoy convenient and safe financial transactions,” said Diokno.

DFS includes online account opening, money transfers, e-payments solutions, and other tech-supported financial transactions. The literacy program will promote DFS usage as well as improve consumers’ familiarity with these services. The BSP is hoping the literacy program will reduce usage errors, scams and frauds as well as mitigate risk of loss, promote consumer protection, and ensure positive customer experiences.

The BSP’s digital literacy drive or campaign also encourages the use of e-payments under its campaign hashtag, #SafeatHome sa E-Payments.

 “A component of this program is the ongoing #Safe at Home with E-Payments campaign. It promotes usage of e-payment solutions such as PESONet and InstaPay during the lockdown periods and beyond,” said Diokno.

 “We have seen a change in consumer behavior towards electronic transactions during the lockdown. As the BSP intensifies implementation of digitalization and financial inclusion policies, we are confident that the surge in e- payment transactions will continue,” he said.

Diokno said the “New Economy” will rely “heavily” on digital infrastructures. The literacy campaign will also focus on cybersecurity awareness and to increase the public trust in the digital finance ecosystem.

The program is backed by banking sector associations, the e-payments sector advocates such as the USAID, and the financial technology segment of the industry.

The BSP said: “Health protocols during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) highlighted the importance of DFS. Comparison of average levels, 76 days before ECQ versus 76 days during ECQ reveal that there is a decline in check transactions (67 percent in volume and 62 percent in value) and ATM withdrawals (24 percent in volume and 13 percent in value) during the ECQ compared to pre-ECQ levels.” Amid a decline in check transactions and ATM withdrawals during the ECQ compared to pre-ECQ levels, e-payments through the PESONet and InstaPay services of financial institutions grew by 74 percent and 42 percent in volume and value, respectively, noted the BSP.