Electronic fund transfers hit all-time high in May

Lawrence Agcaoili - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The value of electronic fund transfers coursed through the PESONet and InstaPay surged by 31.5 percent to hit P4.88 trillion in the first five months   from P3.71 trillion in the same period last year after hitting record high values and volumes in May.

Latest data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed the combined volume of electronic fund transfers jumped by 32.1 percent to 321.58 million from January to May this year versus last year’s 243.38 million as more Filipinos turn to digital channels for their financial transactions.

In particular, the value of PESONet transactions. soared by 26.3 percent to P3.02 trillion in the first five months from a year-ago level of P2.39 trillion as volume went up by 11.6 percent to 37.38 million from 33.49 million.

For May alone, it jumped by 29.2 percent to hit an all-time high of P660.8 billion from P511.3 billion in the same month last year as volume grew by 12.4 percent to a record high 7.95 million from 7.07 million.

On the other hand, the value of InstaPay transactions from January to May also soared by 40 percent to P1.86 trillion versus last year’s P1.32 trillion as volume jumped by 35.4 percent to 284.16 million from 209.89 million

For May, value of InstaPay transfers zoomed by 489 percent to a record-high P413.8 billion from P279.6 billion as volume soared by 58.3 percent to an all-time high of 68.83 million from 43.48 million.

PESONet and InstaPay are automated clearing houses  under the BSP’s National Retail Payment System (NRPS). NRPS was launched in December 2015 to promote a safe, efficient, affordable, inclusive and reliable retail payment system.

PESONet enables high-value transactions and may be considered as an electronic alternative to the paper-based check system, while InstaPay is a real-time, low value electronic fund transfer facility for transactions up to P50,000 and is most useful for remittances and e-commerce.

Last year, the combined value of PESONet and InstaPay transactions jumped by 36 percent to P9.94 trillion from P7.24 trillion in 2021 as volume increased by 21 percent to 633.46 million from 523.59 million.

Outgoing BSP Governor Felipe Medalla said PESONet transactions would soon overtake check writing, while InstaPay fund transfers have overtaken cash withdrawals from automated teller machines (ATMs).

“The other thing we are worrying about is the digitalization. We’re seeing great progress there,” Medalla said.

Under its Digital Payment Transformation Roadmap, the central bank aims to shift 50 percent of total retail transactions to electronic channels and onboard at least 70 percent of Filipino adults to the financial system through the ownership and use of a transaction account by 2023.

With the COVID-19 pandemic serving as catalyst, the share of digital payments to total retail transactions further increased to slightly over 40 percent in 2022 after increasing to 30.3 percent in 2021 from 20.1 percent in 2020.

Prior to the launch of the NRPS, the share of electronic payments to total retail transactions stood at only one percent in 2013.

Likewise, the number of banked Filipino adults almost doubled to 56 percent in 2021 from 29 percent in 2019.

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