Cash seen to remain primary mode of payment in PHL for decades more

It will take a few more decades before the majority of the Filipinos would be comfortable with cashless transactions.(Business Mirror.com)

The expanding economy backed up by high consumer spending and the fast-paced evolution of technology has led MasterCard Vice President Judith Dayrit to project that a huge chunk of the Philippine population would be card-equipped by 2030. “To answer the million-dollar question…technology is moving the milestones in business to move faster. I would think that maybe in 2030, maybe anywhere between 2020 to 2050,” Dayrit told the BusinessMirror.

During the launch of the Platinum MasterCard under Maybank, Dayrit said that, despite the broad spectrum of cardholders from the mass market to the more affluent segments and the strong purchasing power in the Philippine market, rich people continue to be the primary drivers for card usage, mostly driven by travel and overseas spending.

She added that, because of the leniency and ease of traveling around, it’s not only the upscale market that is noticeably using cards for travel but the upper mass market, as well. Nevertheless, cash remains the primary mode of transaction in the country. Dayrit pointed out that consumers have yet to realize that there is minimal, if not zero, reward at all in the usage of cash and that it remains as the riskiest transaction method.

“We’re trying to move payment solutions so that payment becomes electronic and not manual cash. The main point is how to move from cash transactions to more convenient and easy and reward-filled products like cards,” she said. Regardless of cash being their preferred mode of payment, Filipinos showed a strong consumer readiness and mobile commerce cluster score in the MasterCard Mobile Payments Readiness index, posting a 34.7 overall score and surpassing the average index score of 33.2.

According to MasterCard, consumers in the Philippines are ready and willing to use mobile payments, especially in the realms of  peer to peer and mobile-commerce payments. However, it also stated that unless laws that relate to business information and communications technology are improved, and banks and mobile networks can cooperate to build mobile payments solutions, the Philippines could see mobile payments become mainstream. Meanwhile, the Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study in 2015 revealed that  three of 10 Filipinos have made contactless payments, compared to 21 percent in 2014. Contactless payments include the use of credit card, debit card or smartphone, sweeping aside the need for cash, personal identification number or signatures for transactions under P2,000.

“I can’t really say when majority of the Filipinos will be cardholders. As I’ve said, it’s a steady growth, but not as fast as we like. But we have a lot of room for opportunity with a 57-million possible market,” Visa Country Manager Stuart Tomlinson told the BusinessMirror. (Read full report)