Increase in e-money usage boosts financial account ownership
DUE to reliance on digital banking services at the height of the pandemic, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said that the number of Filipinos who have a financial transaction account hit an all-time high in 2021.
The Central Bank reported on Monday that more than half of the country’s adult population now has a financial account.
In particular, account ownership jumped to 56% in 2021 from 29% in 2019.
“This increase is the strongest two-year increase since the [Financial Inclusion] (FIS) began in 2015. The expansion was spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic, accelerating the use of digital payments,” the BSP said in a statement.
In detail, the increase in account ownership has been attributed to the adoption of e-money accounts, which jumped to 36% in 2021 from 8% in 2019.
This type of account has become the most common type of account among adults in the middle class and low-income population, as well as those between the ages of 15 and 49.
The share of adults with a bank account has also increased, nearly doubling to 23% in 2021 from 12% in 2019. Banks remained the preferred formal institution for saving money by a third of those with savings , followed by cooperatives and microfinance institutions.
Also according to the FIS, six out of 10 Filipinos have changed their financial behavior during the pandemic.
In particular, 37% of Filipinos started saving more for emergencies, 17% started or increased their use of online banking and digital payment, and 15% borrowed more.
The FIS also showed that among those who had a mobile phone and internet access in 2021, 60% carried out financial transactions online, such as remittances and payments, which is a considerable jump from the 17 % of 2019.
“Amid the latest figures, the BSP will continue to expand its efforts to drive wider adoption of digital technology, which has effectively brought more Filipinos into the formal financial system,” said BSP Governor Felipe M. Medalla.