PH’s digital banking transactions surged in the first half

Digital banking in the Philippines is taking root as the volume and value of electronic payments and financial services processed through this nascent segment reached 1.4 million transactions and 8.45 billion pula, respectively, in the first half of 2022 .

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the six so-called neobanks it licensed have now been given the green light to operate fully.

So far, only three are now at full speed, namely Tonik Digital Bank Inc., Maya Bank Inc., and Overseas Filipino Bank Inc. or OFBDB, which is a digital banking subsidiary of Land Bank of the Philippines.

Tonik and Maya received their certificates of authorization to operate in the first quarter of this year, and OFBDB in the second quarter.

The other three – UNObank Inc., GoTyme Bank Corp. and UnionDigital Bank Inc. – are expected to launch in the second half of 2022.

UNOBank also received clearance in the second quarter of this year, while GoTyme and UnionDigital received theirs in July.

The certificate meant that they were authorized to conduct full operations as digital banks.

The BSP issues the certificate to digital banks that have substantially complied with the central bank’s approval conditions and pre-operation requirements. These include capitalization, risk and governance structure, and information technology systems, among others.

UNOBank, UnionDigital and GoTyme have already launched limited operations targeting certain customers.

Operating initially with limited capacity is a conservative approach taken by digital banks to ensure that all aspects of their digital operations are ironed out before fully launching their services to the public.

The BSP defines digital banks as having no physical branches, unlike traditional or physical banks.

Also called neobanks, the financial products and services of these players are processed end-to-end through digital platforms or electronic channels.

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