Can the Philippines go cash-lite?

By Randell Tiongson on December 4th, 2018

Question: I’ve been thinking of carrying less cash and becoming more cash-lite but I am not savvy enough to see my money on my smartphone rather than wallet. I’m not confident enough without my tangible asset. I am 42 years old and my kids are telling me to go online to manage our business. What is your advice?

Answer: Congratulations on that huge step of considering to go cash-lite! We all need that nudge from our children and peers. I fully understand that comfort of seeing your money within reach — whether be it in your wallet, safe or hidden under your pillows. Since you are managing a business, may I suggest that you opt for a cashless platform that can streamline your business.

Everywhere in the world, we are seeing societies move towards going cashless. Take a trip to a developed country and you’ll see that it’s more common to see residents paying with their cards or e-wallets instead of bills and coins like in Canada or China.

In the Philippines, although it is still an emerging economy, we are not far from becoming more cash-lite. In Asia, the Philippines is one of the hubs for online shopping. In fact, earlier this year, Visa conducted a Consumer Payments Attitudes Study, which revealed more and more Filipinos are going cashless due to its convenience.

The survey added that in 2018, more Filipinos use digital payments and are spending 15% more on their cards than they did in 2017. Of the survey respondents, 92% said that they shop online compared to 71% just two years ago. For majority of them, online shopping has become more than a once-a-month habit. The survey also found that Filipinos use online payments for their utility bills, clothes shopping, food delivery, and online streaming.

Looking at your situation, it appears that you have a conservative approach when it comes to digital transaction. While there are many payment providers nowadays, it is advisable that you check what are the latest digital banking options that your bank current offers.

Most if not all banks in the Philippines are now EMV-enabled meaning even if you’re not tech savvy enough, you can use your bank’s ATM or Credit card to facilitate online bank transaction including payment and money transfer. Top banks like BDO, BPI, and Metrobank have their own respective app you can download where you can keep track of your transaction and check your balances.

While the big three may be the obvious choices for newbies, there are banks like Security Bank that is ahead among the pack when it comes to offering online products and services catered to streamline business operations.

The bank caught my attention when it was named the Best Bank in the Philippines for 2018 by no other than New York-based Global Finance. The awarding body said that regardless of the bank’s size, Security Bank’s online banking service triumphed over the Big Three Banks.

The bank has upgraded its mobile app interface, allowing a seamless banking transaction from checking one’s account balance to transferring funds. It also has an eGive Cash feature, which allows real-time fund transfer from an account holder to its recipient, regardless if the receiver is a Security Bank account holder or not. eGive Cash can be withdrawn from any of Security Bank’s ATM.

Lastly, the one that is perfect for any businessman is the bank’s Digibanker platform. With high approval ratings, the platform houses a one-stop shop for bills payment, streamlining processes for your business’ financial obligations. It simplifies the payment of bills different deadlines, keeps track of undelivered check payments, and offers tax forms. Now you can go cash-lite and paperless at the same time.

Going cash-lite isn’t as scary as it is. It is important to examine, understand and find the right partner for your needs. As time goes by, a lot of platforms spring out as fast as mushrooms but instead of being intimidated.. embrace it!

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Can the Philippines go cash-lite?