Philippine National Bank Aims to Offer Digital Banking and Contactless Payments Services to Prevent Further Spread of COVID-19

 

Governments throughout the world have been asking people to stay at home, as the world struggles to cope with the highly contagious Coronavirus.

Countries across the globe have enforced nationwide lockdowns in order to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Many people are now concerned that paper currency notes may be carrying germs or viruses, so they’ve started using digital banking platforms.

The Philippine National Bank (PNB), one of the nation’s largest banks, is currently converting its users of passbook accounts into mobile banking holders.

In statements recently shared with CNN, Wick Veloso, president and CEO at PNB, noted that the bank has been focused on offering legitimate alternatives to physical branch locations. The PNB aims to ensure that the country’s residents are able to perform contactless payments.

But Veloso said it may take a fairly long time before many consumers begin to use digital payments services.

Veloso stated:

“Right now, most of our [people] are still reliant on cash. It is not going to be immediate that people are going digital.”

Banks are considered part of essential services and should remain open during the lockdown period, which has led to closure of many local companies and businesses.

Veloso confirmed that the pandemic has forced the PNB to shift into a defense readiness condition.

He added that specific measures have been taken to “back up team members,” so that the PNB can continue to offer essential financial services.

Veloso said that business continuity plans to address and recover from the ongoing crisis are vital during these difficult times. He admitted that the end of this crisis is nowhere in sight.

The PNB bank CEO remarked:

“A bounce back is something that will depend on the vaccine. One thing is certain: it [the pandemic] will end. But the question is how long will this be, because that is how we’re going to be able to know the actual situation.”

A recent survey of more than 2,000 Filipino adults revealed that about 15% or around 10.2 million Filipino adults say they have a digital-only bank account.

This could mean that “within 5 years more than 21 million Filipino adults are expected to hold online-only bank accounts,” the survey report noted.

The report added:

“By 2025, 32% of [Filipino] men say they plan to have an online-only bank account compared to 28% of women.”

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