BSP asks consumers to practice cyber hygiene

As part of its digital literacy campaign, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is reminding consumers that have migrated to online financial transactions to get in the habit of practicing good cyber hygiene.

“Cybersecurity awareness and cyber risk management should be part of the daily routine of Filipinos,” advised BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno. “Every consumer must diligently observe cyber hygiene practices to protect themselves from scammers and fraudulent financial transactions.”

The BSP said cyber hygiene is a set of practices and steps that users of digital devices and financial services take to ensure online security. 

 “While BSP policies and regulations directs supervised financial institutions to comply with stringent cybersecurity risk management protocols and internal controls, consumers also have the responsibility to reduce their vulnerability to usage errors and be vigilant against financial crimes perpetrated online,” said the BSP.

 The COVID-19 pandemic and the necessary lockdown and containment measures increased the need for online financial transactions. Not surprisingly, the BSP said issues and concerns about internet banking, mobile banking and e-money were “top concerns” (fund transfers, crediting funds to recipient accounts, and unauthorized transactions) as reported through their Consumer Assistance Management System.

Since cybersecurity will resolve these issues, the BSP said it is intensifying its implementation of the digital literacy program to improve public trust and confidence in the digital finance ecosystem and to “encourage massive usage of digital financial services by consumers across all sectors, including individuals, corporations, businesses, and even government institutions.”

As far as the BSP is concerned, those that are “digitally literate consumers not only understand digital financial services usage, they also “know the risks of usage and have the ability to protect themselves from such risks (and are) aware of consumer rights and redress procedures.”

Digital literacy is crucial because with the BSP’s digital payments transformation roadmap, they aim to shift at least 50 of retail payment transactions to digital in a few short years.

The digital literacy program, according to the BSP, “intends to address knowledge gaps that hinder consumers from using digital channels.”

Based on the BSP 2019 Financial Inclusion Survey, about 88 percent of mobile phone owners and another 91 percent of internet users are not using these for financial transactions because of lack of awareness and lack of trust as primary reasons.