by Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star), Jul 12, 2018
MANILA, Philippines — A total of 52.8 million Filipino adults do not have bank accounts amid the heightened efforts of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to promote financial inclusion.
Results of the BSP’s 2017 Financial Inclusion Survey (FIS) show 60 percent of the respondents reported not having enough money as the main reason for not having bank accounts.
About 21 percent of the respondents cited perceived lack of need, while 18 percent reasoned out the absence of documentary requirements.
Other reasons cited include high cost with 10 percent, lack of knowledge in account opening with nine percent, lack of work with eight percent, and lack of awareness with eight percent.
Based on the survey, the number of Filipino adults who own an account is estimated at 15.8 million or 22.6 percent of total adult population or individuals aged 15 and above. This was an improvement from the 22 percent based on the 2015 maiden survey.
Ownership of an account that can be used to save money, receive salary, send or receive remittance, and pay bills is a basic indicator of financial inclusion.
The BSP said banks continue to have a higher share with 11.5 percent in account penetration than non-banks such as microfinance non-government organizations with 8.1 percent, cooperatives with 2.9 percent as well as non-stock savings and loan associations with 0.3 percent.
Only 1.3 percent of Filipino adults have electronic money (e-money) accounts.
The survey also found out the percentage of Filipino adults with savings increased to 48 percent in 2017 from 43 percent in 2015, while incidence of borrowing decreased to 22 percent from 47 percent.
Likewise, the BSP helped significantly lower the share of borrowers obtaining credit from informal sources to 40 percent in 2017 from 72 percent in 2015.
Women’s financial inclusion is positively demonstrated across different financial products and services.
While bank and e-money account penetration is slightly higher for men, women are twice likely to have an account than men in general.
Whereas most developing countries face the persistent challenge of women’s financial exclusion, the Philippines presents an interesting case wherein the level of financial inclusion is significantly higher among women than men.
While formal account penetration remains low and growth is modest, there are opportunities for greater financial inclusion enabled by digital technology.
At present, accounts are still underutilized for payment and remittance transactions. Among account owners, only 18 percent are receiving salary, 12 percent are sending or receiving money, and six percent are receiving pension through their account.
Nearly nine out of 10 adults have payment transactions of which 60 percent are paying in cash. Over the counter remittance transactions are very prevalent among senders and receivers of money as 93 percent used remittance agents in sending money, while 83 percent used them for receiving money.
“Digitizing these payment and remittance transactions is a crucial step towards digital financial inclusion,” the BSP said.
The BSP aims to develop a digital finance ecosystem that supports the diverse needs of all users in a manner that is secure, sustainable, convenient, and affordable through the National Retail Payment System.