BSP tip to gift givers: Use digital wallets
MANILA, Philippines — Many godparents may be thinking that the pandemic, which restricts mobility and discourages physical gatherings, is a perfect excuse to free them from giving the traditional Christmas cash gift to their “inaanak.”
Think again. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) says the usual gifting of cash to godchildren as well as to kids of relatives and friends can continue, but they should ditch the red envelopes and send the money through more modern means.
BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno is urging Filipinos to use digital wallets, like GCash and PayMaya, and mobile banking apps when sending cash gifts this holiday season.
“Digital wallets offer a safe, secure, efficient and convenient way to transfer funds to family and friends during this season of giving,” he adds, explaining that using digital money as an alternative means of giving cash gifts is highly recommended while the COVID-19 is still here to reduce physical contact and virus transmission between giver and receiver.
The widespread use of digital money is in line with the BSP’s digital payment transformation and financial inclusion goals.
According to its latest report, the BSP says it has achieved its target of reaching 20 percent of digital payments volume by 2020, largely driven by high-frequency, low-value retail transactions through electronic fund transfers.
Diokno says the BSP remains committed to expanding the digitalization of payments to at least half of all transactions by 2023 in its push to promote a more inclusive and tech-savvy Philippine economy.
All this is being made possible by the groundwork laid by the central bank years ago to create payment systems that can deal with one another, which proved crucial in keeping the Philippine financial system running during the height of the pandemic when personal mobility was highly restricted.
Diokno noted earlier that, even before the pandemic, the BSP was able to lay out the critical foundations to an interoperable National Retail Payment System (NRPS) that allowed payment service providers to innovate and offer responsive digital payment products and services.
Launched in 2015, the NRPS is a policy and regulatory framework that aims to set up a safe, efficient, reliable and interoperable retail payment system.
Its goal is to give every Filipino access to financial services and have accounts to make payments and receive or transfer funds to other accounts anytime, anywhere at a reasonable price from any digital device.
A key initiative under this system is the rollout of automated clearinghouses — lnstaPay and PESONet — which allows fund transfers among account holders from different banks.
But for those who have long decided not to give cash to their godchildren this Christmas, simply tell them that you don’t have internet connection or mobile data to send the gift.