Ninety-nine percent of payments in the Philippines currently take place via cash and checks. Although not nearly as common, electronic payments (e-payments) provide many advantages, including better access to financial services and broader participation in the economy. To support the U.S.-Philippines Partnership for Growth, the E-PESO activity, funded by USAID, supports the Philippine government and private sector to increase the adoption and use of e-payments in the country.
The E-PESO activity aims to build a stronger economic infrastructure that gives Filipinos access to more financial services through the use of e-payments. For example, with access to electronic transaction accounts, Filipinos can better build assets, withstand shocks, and participate more broadly in the formal economy. E-payments also strengthen the Philippine government’s ability to track financial flows, improving its transparency and accountability for financial transactions.
The activity uses several approaches to promote this shift: Some of its interventions encourage more electronic transactions, while others support the expansion and management of e-payment infrastructure in the country. Another important component involves bringing business and government stakeholders together to improve the enabling environment for e-payments. At the same time, the activity works with local governments and the private sector to build the country’s e-payment ecosystem, focusing on cities identified through USAID’s Cities Development Initiative.
In addition to these interventions, E-PESO helps the government expand e-payment usage in government-to-person and person-to-government payments, and works with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to implement a National Retail Payment System, ensuring that transactions work across e-payment account types and that consumers are protected. E-PESO also supports businesses as they shift from cash to e-payment systems. This combined approach ensures that the majority of Filipinos — individuals, businesses, and other groups — have access to electronic accounts and more diverse opportunities to participate in the economy.