Going Cashless in the Philippines

December 9, 2020

In 2020, the economy of the Philippines has suffered a steep decline because of Covid-19, just like the rest of the world. Filipinos are already going beyond their limits to fulfill their needs and desires desperately. Because of Covid-19 and then the recent typhoons, Filipinos only have a limited chance of having a steady way of buying, selling, and earning in person, especially for a nation that was already struggling because of the lack of fundamentals. 

According to the Philippines Statistics Authority, in 2018, 16.6% of the total population was below the poverty line, translating, at that time, to 17.6 million. 

Although the drive to a cashless economy existed well before the pandemic began, there has been a rapid increase in the growth rate of digital acceptance by the populace. Covid-19 has brought much hardships to personal lives; however, indirectly, it also led individuals and organizations to break out of their “cash based” shells and eventually adopt digital payments and e-commerce. 

Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study survey of 2017 showed out of a lot of 500 survey participants, 7 out of 10 (69%) Filipinos were confident to go cashless for a day, and 52% of them claimed to go up to three days just using e-payments. The survey concluded 70% of them have already gone cashless for a few days. This survey clearly showed that convenience and safety in online payments is a massive driver for a cashless economy; however a thriving ecosystem for digital payments has been missing in the Philippines, but it looks apparent from the survey that this narrative is about to change.

Social Media Successfully Driving the Cashless Narrative

Social media played a massive part in influencing people and especially driving them to acquire a deeper understanding of the cashless economy. It's not surprising that many Filipinos have strong affinity for social media, and 93% rely primarily on social media platforms and the discussions therein to get general information. 

With the right service, high-security system, and global connectivity, who wouldn't trust e-platforms anyway? Visa Surveys indicate that currently, 70% of Filipinos (volunteers in their survey) have already gone cashless. According to GlobalWebIndex, in 2019, among 69 million internet users in the country, around three-quarters are aged 16-64, inferring the paradigm shift in the internet usage of Filipinos. With an average age of 25.7 years, there can be no better time for the country to adapt to the new normal, but I refer to the economic point of view. Let’s take a look at how the nation is preparing itself!

The Cashless Wave in Education

Education, transportation, and restaurants are going cashless in the Philippines. Since the quarantine, children have been shifted to online classes. The federal Department of Education (DepED) is also making efforts to balance the 'new normal' of delivering a high quality of education while ensuring smooth cash flow for educational institutions’ operations. Primary schools from the Philippines, such as the Ateneo De Davao University, Don Bosco Technical Institute of Makati, Nord Anglia International School Manila, La Salle Green Hills, etc., have partnered up with PayMaya. Students can now pay their tuition fees using the PayMaya app, and the cashiers in these schools are also being equipped with POS devices.

Restaurants in Philippines Going Cashless

Small and even medium-sized restaurants in the Philippines are also using e-platforms as an option of payment for customers. Leading QSRs (Quick-service restaurants) like McDonald's, Jollibee, KFC, Chowking are also going cashless in almost all their outlets. 

"Cashless is now emerging as the preferred mode of payment for consumers as Filipinos embrace health and safety protocols under the New Normal. With QSRs adopting PayMaya's end-to-end digital payments solutions, customers and frontliners alike are experiencing a better way to pay that's also safer, more convenient, and rewarding – whether the transaction is for dine-in, drive-thru, or orders via website or chat"- PayMaya President Shailesh Baidwan.

Government Doing Its Part

As for transportation, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), an agency under the Department of Transportation in the Philippines, is on its way to incorporate cashless payment systems. 

"With RFID, transactions are contactless, fast, and convenient. We urge our motorists to use this innovative payment transaction at toll plazas as this will prevent long vehicle queues and will make your travel hassle-free," said the Executive director of the Toll Regulatory Board, Abraham Sales. 

By the end of March 2020, in the capital of Philipines - Manila - 56 different government institutions started digital payments via Egov Pay - a government-launched digital payment platform.

Philippines' biggest e-payment platform is Gcash, which covers over 20 million out of 39 million digital users. For a country in which digital ecommerce penetration is growing by more than 3% every year and is expected to penetrate up to 47% of the entire population by 2024, a cashless Philippines looks more realistic every day. 

How is N2Xpress Helping In Expanding The Dream of Cashless Philippines?

N2Xpress is an online remittance business that allows people living in Canada to send money to various countries. With N2Xpress, Filipinos can easily make online bill payments. You can pay electricity, water, internet, telecoms, and credit card bills from various countries including Canada, and the United States. 

Send more than money.