BAGUIO CITY – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas North Luzon Regional Office (BSP-NLRO) conducted an information drive on financial literacy and digital financial transactions during the National Statistics Month Closing Program last October 27, 2023, at the Maharlika Livelihood Center in Baguio City. Participants during the said event were members of the Regional Statistics Committee of the Cordillera Regional Development Council, representatives from different regional line agencies, merchants and storekeepers, and mall-goers.
In his opening message, BSP-NLRO Dir. Noel Malimban highlighted the importance and benefits of digital financial transactions, particularly in fostering financial inclusion. He said that with more people using mobile phones, even workers from the informal sector can now easily transact within the formal financial system conveniently and securely.
Promoting financial inclusion is a priority of the region, as enshrined in the Regional Development Plan 2023-2028, as it provides an equal playing field for all members of society to have access to all available products in any form of financial transaction, whether public or private. This would translate to consumer protection with the public enabled to have informed choices and options for financial services they prefer best.
Dennis Gundran, also of the BSP-NLRO, provided an overview of the current state of digital payments in the country. He shared that there is a big increase in the share of digital payment transactions from 1.09% in 2013 to 42.1% in 2022. He also mentioned that the majority of digital accounts or 79%, which include bank accounts and e-wallet accounts, are used for payments rather than savings.
He also presented tips for securing online financial transactions. These include using strong passwords, utilizing two-step verification processes, and regularly reviewing transaction history. He also advised everyone to log out from their accounts after using digital financial services, even from their gadgets.
Gundran then presented the Paleng-QR PH program and the National Retail Payment System, which are geared towards mainstreaming digital financial transactions and payments. The Paleng-QR PH is seen as a means to improve access to better financial services, as well as to open new income opportunities, like for small storeowners, and job generation. The NRPS, on the other hand, works around interoperable digital payment facilities such as the PesoNet, InstaPay, EGov Pay, QR Ph, and Bills Pay Ph.