PH going cashless

Published July 12, 2020, 9:56 AM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Although e-commerce has been launched for quite some time in the Philippines already, it did not create enough traction until the coronavirus disease pandemic. This global health contagion has forced almost everyone to go online and quickly embrace e-payment system.

With e-commerce becoming the norm, so are e-payment services. Digital payment services now play an increasingly critical role as businesses and consumers in the new normal prefer contactless payment method as one way to minimize physical contact with humans and objects.

Local e-payment platforms such as PayMaya and GCash are now buzzwords among consumers. Transactions are paid digitally and money transfers are completed online in just a matter of seconds wherever you maybe as long as you are connected to the Internet.

Consumers in the Philippines are now becoming more appreciative of the benefits of a cashless economy through digital payments and are feeling more empowered to do their financial decisions on the palm of their hand.

The 2019 Google Temasek Study noted that e-commerce in the Philippines is expected to grow from $2.5 billion in 2019 to $12 billion in 2025.

Likewise, according to statistics from EuroMonitor, there is a huge potential for growth of online commerce given that it accounts for only 3.78 percent of total retail in the Philippines, valued at $63.2 billion.

But as e-commerce flourishes, there are legal and security challenges that have to be addressed.

The need to act swiftly becomes imperative as Filipinos got no choice but embrace e-commerce during this evolving health crisis and to help businesses navigate in this very trying time.

Hence, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez has called for a review of the 20-year-old Republic Act No. 8792 or the e-Commerce Act of 2000 Law to strengthen e-commerce and protection of digital transactions.

“Twenty years after this pioneering legislation was passed, we need to revisit the law to make it more relevant to the times and future-proofing it. We need to take into account the substantial developments in technology, the widespread use of Internet, and the growing e-commerce sector,” said Lopez.

To strengthen e-commerce in the country, the DTI is supporting the various bills related to ecommerce, particularly House Bill (HB) No. 6122 or the “Internet Transactions Act” authored by Trade Committee Chair Representative Wes Gatchalian.

HB No. 6122 seeks to establish an eCommerce Bureau that will, among others, focus on the following: Promoting the development of ecommerce in the country by building trust between sellers and consumers, stronger online consumer protection, safer e-payment gateways, easier online business registration, and formulating other policies and programs to increase the number of online merchants and consumers.

Aside from the Internet Transactions Bill, various related bills are being tackled in Congress that aim to promote the digital economy.

These include: HB 6927 on e-Government Act principally authored by Deputy Speaker Lray Villafuerte; HB 6926 and Senate Bill (SB) No. 1469 on the national digital careers act; and SB 1470 on the National Digital Transformation policy.

While the need to update the 20-year-old eCommerce Act of 2000, DTI is also bringing eCommerce Philippines 2022 Roadmap up to date.

With a strategy that focuses on “Security, Speed, and Structure” to increase sales using e-payment, DTI is also ensuring the need to strengthen protection of online consumers and online merchants, particularly micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).”

 
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