Banks’ digital financial services continue for holidays

Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) – December 22, 2020 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) yesterday directed banks to ensure the continuous availability of digital financial services as well as ATMs during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier yesterday reminded BSP supervised financial institutions (BSFIs) to ensure the security and continuous availability of digital financial services and ATMs to the general public as the country celebrates the coming Christmas and New Year holidays.

“With the festivities and generosity of Filipinos at this time, the demand for cash and digital financial services (DFS) are expected to spike during the long holidays. Thus, it is imperative for BSFIs to actively augment existing capabilities and implement strategies to fulfill customer requirements,” Fonacier stated via Memorandum 2020-096.

Given the continuing community quarantine protocols, Fonacier pointed out banks and financial institutions play a crucial role to ensure that ATMs have sufficient levels of cash and their operations comply with physical distancing protocols.

Likewise, the BSP official said BSFIs should sustain the public’s growing preference to utilize digital channels in fulfilling basic financial and payment transactions.

“Cyberattacks and electronic fraud are likewise observed to be escalating during long weekends and holidays,” she said.

Fonacier said banks should put in place mechanisms, resources and processes to ensure security of DFS and responsiveness to customer concerns.

On the other hand, the regulator said customers should also be alert and immediately report to concerned BSFIs any unusual transactions or activities in their accounts.

The BSP has launched a three-year digital payments transformation roadmap charting current initiatives and strategy in advancing an efficient, inclusive as well as safe and secure digital payments ecosystem.

BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno has committed to convert 50 percent of the total volume and value of retail payments into digital form and expand the number of those included to 70 percent of Filipino adults by onboarding them to the formal financial system through the use of payment or transaction accounts.

The momentum for pursuing digital payments has also been catalyzed by the recent lockdowns brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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