The ongoing digital transformation has become an inevitable reality, and the COVID-19 pandemic has expedited this shift. As people increasingly rely on virtual apps and platforms for various transactions, the financial landscape is rapidly evolving. Particularly, certain user-friendly and seamless financial apps have gained popularity, enabling people to shop and conduct transactions using just their mobile phones.
According to a recent study conducted by Visa called “Money Travels: 2023 Digital Remittances Adoption,” a staggering 71% of the Filipino population now make remittances through virtual apps. The Philippines has established itself as one of the leading recipients of remittances in Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, with over a million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) spread across the globe.
T.R. Ramachandran, Visa Head in Asia-Pacific, emphasized that the study underscores the increasing prevalence of digital transactions and highlights the changing consumer behavior and expectations, which lean towards speed, convenience, and enhanced security. Globally, 57% of people leverage digital apps for their payments and transactions, making it the preferred option for both sellers and buyers.
In specific regions, the adoption rate of digital transactions exceeds the global average. Notably, 60% of North Americans, 69% of Saudi Arabians, and 65% of individuals in the United Arab Emirates prefer digital apps for their financial transactions.
Visa reported that these virtual platforms are fostering more frequent online transactions, making it easier than ever for users to transfer money instantly. A few clicks and key presses are all it takes to facilitate the transfer of funds. Within the Philippines, 77% of Filipinos receive multiple remittances within a year, indicating the increasing frequency of transactions.
Furthermore, Visa stated that these digital apps have the potential to significantly improve the lives of many users. Remittances can now be sent or transferred within seconds, providing opportunities for education and investment.
However, amidst the growing adoption of digital transactions, concerns over security remain. Recently, an e-wallet brand in the Philippines faced several complaints regarding unauthorized loss of balances in their digital wallets, leading to a surge of complaints on various social media platforms. Yeo Siang Tiong, General Manager of Kapersky Southeast Asia, expressed that both existing account holders and prospective users are worried about the security of e-wallets. Tiong called for e-wallet companies to enhance their cyber defenses to safeguard user accounts and prevent fraudulent attacks.
As the digital revolution continues to reshape the financial landscape, the rise of digital remittances in the Philippines reflects the increasing preference for speed, convenience, and enhanced security in financial transactions. Nevertheless, addressing the existing security concerns will be crucial in maintaining trust and ensuring the long-term success of these digital platforms.