Responsible Finance Forum

Corporate and SME experiences of digitizing business payments in the Philippines

James Hokans
01 July 2015
Source:  Better Than Cash Alliance

The BTCA Country Diagnostic for the Philippines, completed in 2013, found that while many medium and large businesses paid their employees digitally, very few business-to-business payments were made digitally.

This case study builds the evidence base regarding business payments in the Philippines, the incentives businesses face, and what it would take to shift corporates decisively to digital payments. The case draws on in-depth interviews with commercial banks and Filipino corporates, complemented by a survey of 400 small businesses employing between 2 and 25 people in Metro Manila in 2014.

While the Philippines payments system offers digital payment instruments like inter-bank electronic credit and debit transfers, checks remain by far the most widely used interoperable payment instrument. Instead of using electronic inter-bank transfers, businesses tend to open multiple bank accounts with different banks and then initiate on-us payments to suppliers at their own banks. One of the Philippines payment networks (BancNet) does offer low value credit transfers in real time between payment card accounts, but these are little used.