Use of e-money on the rise - BSP
Kathleen A. Martin (The Philippine Star) - August 25, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - More Filipinos are getting access to financial services in the country as reflected in the significant increase in the use of electronic money in 2013, according to a  report by the  Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Registered e-money accounts surged 34 percent to 26.7 million in 2013 from the 2010 level of 19.9 million, the central bank said

The central bank also reported  a  significant 57  percent rise in the number of e-money transactions, which include bills payments and person-to-person payments, to 217 million in 2013  from 138 million in 2010. These  transactions were valued at P348 billion or 58 percent higher than the 2010 level of P220.5 billion

E-money is defined by the BSP as monetary value electronically stored in convenient payment instruments that consumers can use to buy or pay for goods and services, to transfer or remit funds or to withdraw funds.

E-money is not considered a deposit and hence, not insured with the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp.

The central bank also recorded a notable increase in   the number of e-money issuers    in 2013. “A year after the issuance of e-money rules and regulations in 2009, there were 21 registered EMIs (e-money issuers). Three years later, the number of EMIs increased by 52 percent to 32 EMIs in 2013,” it said.

 “Technological innovation can provide new ways in which financial services can be delivered. One such innovation is e-money,” the BSP said.

The central bank  said the number of e-money agents has grown as well, reaching  10,620 last year.

“E-money provides exciting opportunities for financial institutions to expand the reach of their services. While many Filipinos do not have a deposit account, mobile phone penetration is high with around 49 million unique subscribers and 109 million SIM cards,” the central bank said.

It took more than 160 years before the number of bank offices reached 9,884 but it only took four years for the number of e-money agents to hit 10,620, the BSP said.

Such scenario show how the network of e-money can add to the growing ecosystem of financial service access and enable more people to make financial transactions.

 “Thus, e-money and mobile banking offer the potential of increasing access to finance especially to those who are living in remote and hard to reach areas where distance to banks and other access points appear as an immediate challenge,” the BSP   said.

The use of e-money was made popular by telecommunication firms that provided e-wallets for their customers, and by department stores whose gift certificates eventually evolved into cash cards.

E-money issuers are required to be registered with the central bank and they should have a system maintaining an accurate and complete list of e-money transactions and other information. These issuers should also comply with all applicable requirements under the Anti Money Laundering Law, the BSP  said.

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