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Thursday, May 7, 2020

Fintech as Bedrock of Digital Services as the Philippines Battles Pandemic

What is normal a few months ago has a different meaning now as the country is battling the pandemic called Covid-19. Actually, it is not just our country, but the whole world was turned upside-down because of it. And until vaccine and medicine are developed, our "normal" pertains to staying inside the house. And in this situation, going to the mall, grocery shopping, dining out, visiting family and friends seem to only have happened in history books.

Luckily, we are in the digital age and services are now conducted via digital platforms. This is to help reduce the risk of contacting the virus as it encourages people to stay at home. Hence, the new "normal" is social interaction being done through social networking sites and messaging apps.

Online shopping has become a part of the new "normal," and thanks to numerous apps, food and other essential needs are all within digital reach. Online transactions are also becoming popular as more and more people realized its importance versus conventional cash.

GCash, the leading mobile wallet in the country has seen a growth of mobile wallet users since quarantine was enforced last March 14, 2020, and the number keeps on growing.

"In a world where digital is the new normal, financial technology should be considered the bedrock of digital services. Through digital finance, people have the power to pay for goods and services without the need for physical cash. Aside from the convenience, it is also less risky than cash handling, more efficient than physical payments, and is also very transparent," said GCash Chief Technology and Operations Officer Pebbles Sy.

Coincidentally, the BSP has been actively promoting the use of digital payments for almost a decade now and has adopted several key policies and programs as well as the creation of automated clearing houses for seamless transactions.

With the quarantine still in effect, the government is pushing to increase the numbers of people doing cashless transactions. GCash has been supportive of this goal and it offers convenient and affordable way to transact with merchants both online and offline. GCash users may also use their digital wallets to pay for bills and government dues, and even transfer money to banks, or those without a bank account.

"We want our customers to be able to use GCash to its full potential. The app has multiple features that would help ease the burden of the average Filipino, from paying their utilities to sending money to their relatives in the provinces. Contactless payments are preferred by many merchants, especially during this time where long lines crowd banks and other shops," continued Sy. "During this difficult period, GCash stays true to its mission of staying connected. Our services are important, now more than ever, as the Filipino looks for ways to minimize exposure to the virus."

But GCash is not just an e-wallet app, it is also a platform that offers a quick and easy way to donate to frontline workers and other marginalized sectors. And as we are now in the era of digital age, GCash is helping the Filipinos in adapting to the new "normal."


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