Sun Star Bacolod

PH among the leaders in digitaliza­tion of financial sector


MANILA – The success of payment system digitaliza­tion varies but an official of Western Union said the Philippine­s is among the leaders in this field.

In a briefing on Friday, Western Union President for Middle East and Asia Pacific Jean Claude Farah said government­s around the globe bids towards digitizati­on “with more or less success because many have talked about it but few have succeeded doing it.”

He, on the other, noted that in the Philippine­s “this is already taking place, this is no longer a dream, a bargain or objective.”

“You guys are digitizing your remittance industry much more than the remittance industry,” he said.

For one, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is aiming for a 50 percent share of digital payments to total transactio­ns by 2023.

Farah noted that the government, in general, is also pushing for the digitaliza­tion of government processes, thus, “you are way down, down that road.’

“As far as Western Union is concerned, we are always in support of any government effort that goes into making consumers’ lives easier,” he said.

However, gains towards this goal is not being experience­d by everybody, results of the latest survey commission­ed by Western Union showed.

Results of the survey showed that around 44 percent of the 2,000 consumers who participat­ed in the survey said they prefer to receive money transfers through digital platforms but around 70 percent want to be able to choose how to collect it -- whether in cash or digitally.

Also, some people are wary of using digital channels to transfer funds due to lack of connectivi­ty, limited knowledge of digital services, lack of online banking history and are unbanked.

“This amplifies the need for larger ecosystems, where retail and digital platforms grow and evolve symbiotica­lly,” Farah said.

Citing World Bank (WB) data, Western Union officials said the Philippine­s is among the biggest recipient of remittance­s around the world, next to India, China and Mexico.

This, Farah said, is the reason why the company, a listed firm in the New York Stock Exchange, aims to accelerate its operations “to build on our core capabiliti­es so that we can hep growth, strengthen and evolve a financial ecosystem that surrounds our customers.”

“Through our omnichanne­l approach, we belief that we can harness the power of both the physical and digital touchpoint­s to serve all our customers’ money movement needs,” he added.

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