Program to help PH achieve 20-fold increase in e-Payments

THE UNITED States Agency for International Development (USAID) is confident that the Philippines will achieve 20-fold increase in the adoption of electronic payment (e-Payment) as has helped the country achieve the target with the implementation of the e-peso program.

At the speech during the launching of the program in Zamboanga City last week, Roger Carlson, USAID Philippines acting deputy mission director, said the Philippines has become a good model for other countries to follow in adopting digital technology for its transactions.

Carlson said the e-peso program is the support of his agency to the goal of the Philippines to increase adoptibility of e-Payments in its transactions. “This initiative will make the payments of taxes, permits and other government to person or business to government transactions easy and accessible,” he said.

Carlson said the use of e-Payments will allow those transacting with government to use technology at the convenience of their home or office, saving them time “for physical cueing on the line, travel and cost.”

He said his agency supports the initiave because this “will enable Filipinos to access new financial products that will help spur broad-based and inclusive economic development.”

“At the end of the day, the sustainability of cost-effective and secured e-Payments will enable the Filipinos to gain access to electronic transaction accounts. It will provide Filipinos a broader range of financial services that can help assets, better withstand shocks and participate in the formal economy,” he added, saying this would allow the country to achieve inclusive growth and eventually eliminate poverty.

Experts in the digital businesses said the reason the Philippines has not taken advantage of the platform is that online businesses have not created digital payment portals or have ignored the need for the payment mechanism.

Rebecca R. Ricalde, assistant vice president for digital commerce at Voyager Innovations Inc., said that while many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have online presences as they have set up their websites and social media accounts, they have not seized the opportunities of using the Internet for their businesses because, among others, they have not set up digital payment systems.

Ricalde, whose company has set up a platform to help SMEs, said these businesses need to come up with a sustainable and safe electronic payment systems so that possible clients will be encouraged to patronize them.

The e-peso program, which supports the initiative of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas as guide in the implementation of the National Retail Payment System, promote electronic commerce transactions.

The USAID, in implementing the program, provides technical assistance to the national government to expand the use of e-Payments in its transactions and engage the private sector to slowly shift from cash to e-Payments.

Aside from Zamboanga City, the program is also implemented in the cities of Valenzuela, Quezon, Batangas, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro and the municipality of Pulilan in Bulacan.

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