Filipinos are using fewer coins, as the shift to digital payments during the COVID-19 pandemic makes having spare change unnecesary, Governor Benjamin Diokno of the Central Bank said Thursday.
Between 2019 and 2022, coin demand fell 60% by value and 57% by volume, Diokno told reporters, as he pushed for QR Code-based payments down to tricycles, wet markets and sari-sari stores.
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Diokno has long encouraged Filipinos to pay cashless and long-running quarantines due to COVID-19 accelerated that shift. To encourage consumers, some banks have extended free transfers via the BSP's InstaPay and PesoNet facilities until the end of 2021.
Transactions on InstaPay and PesoNet also increased during the quarantine, Diokno said.
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Filipinos are also spending less during the quarantine due to stay-at-home orders. Household spending fell by P801 billion in 2020 from the previous year as the economy sank into its worst recession since World War II.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said last week that the recovery rests on how fact the vaccine could be rolled out. He said restrictions could be loosed further as early as March.