BancNet sees sustained rise in InstaPay transactions

Lawrence Agcaoili – The Philippine Star

December 29, 2021 | 12:00am


MANILA, Philippines — Multi-channel electronic payments network operator BancNet expects a sustained increase in electronic fund transfers via InstaPay, as more Filipinos embrace digitalization amid the COVID mobility restrictions.

BancNet chief executive officer Elmarie Reyes said total InstaPay transactions surged by 86.6 percent as of Dec. 15 as digital financial transactions grow amid the mobility restructions.

“The strict community quarantines last year forced us to go digital but even with the easing of mobility restrictions these past few months, InstaPay continued to grow relentlessly,” Reyes said.

The share of InstaPay to total switched transactions increased to 31 percent this year from 28 percent last year.

“We expect this upward trend to continue next year as access to the internet expands along with the country’s economic recovery,” Reyes said.

BancNet reported that member banks booked a record P12.93 billion in electronic fund transfers via InstaPay last Dec. 15 as most employees received their 13th-month pay and Christmas bonuses.

It added InstaPay money transfers hit an all-time high of 1.88 million, its highest single-day volume, last Dec. 15.

The volume was 54 percent higher than the volume of 1.22 million transactions, while the value was 71 percent more than the P7.55 billion recorded on the same day last year.

“Dec. 15 is the last payday before Christmas and when some employees also receive their 13th-month pay or Christmas bonus,” BancNet said.

Total approved switched transactions processed by BancNet exceeded six million, including transactions at ATMs, point-of sale (POS) terminals, and the internet aside from InstaPay.

The volume last Dec. 15 was 37 percent more than the same day last year, while value increased 31 percent to nearly P27 billion.

InstaPay is available through the mobile apps of 61 partner banks and non-bank e-money issuers. Mobile app users can send and receive money instantly to and from accounts in another bank or e-wallet in any of three ways: by inputting an account number, through a QR PH code, or by using a mobile number or email address registered with participating banks.

Initially designed for person-to-person money transfers and payments, InstaPay now also enables consumers to pay for goods and services at over 200,000 partner stores and other business establishments nationwide displaying the QR PH code.

InstaPay was launched in April 2018 as part of the National Retail Payments System (NRPS) introduced by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in December 2015 to raise the share of digital payments to total retail transactions to 20 percent by 2020 from only one percent in 2013.

Since then, BancNet has processed more than 660 million InstaPay transactions.

With the COVID-19 pandemic serving as catalyst, the share of digital payments to total retail transactions hit 20.1 percent in 2020 from 14 percent in 2019.

Under its Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno has committed to shift 50 percent of total retail transactions to electronic channels and increase the number of Filipino adults with bank accounts to 70 percent by 2023.

Registered e-money accounts reached 138.8 million last year with the total number of transactions at 1.7 billion, while the number of basic deposit accounts reached seven million with P4.8 billion deposits in the first quarter of 2021.

As a result, the BSP chief reported that the proportion of banked Filipino adults have reached 53 percent in the first quarter of 2021.

As more Filipinos embrace the convenience of digital payments, Diokno expects the phenomenal growth in digital financial transactions to continue in the years ahead.

“With financial digitalization, I am confident that we will achieve the stronger post-COVID economy that we envision sooner rather than later,” Diokno said.

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