Digital payments have gained traction in the Philippines as local people avoid cash transactions following the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a Nikkei Asian Review, payment platform GCash witnessed a sharp increase in the number of registered users since mid-March.

PayMaya, GCash’s local rival, has also increased marketing campaigns to bolster its footprint.

In May, the amount of payments made through GCash was eight times from the figure registered a year ago, the company told the publication.

The e-wallet has more than 20 million registered users and can be used at around 63,000 stores.

The Southeast Asian nation had been slow to adopt digital transactions. However, the pandemic is expected to give it the necessary thrust and catch up with its neighbouring countries.

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The Philippines’ central bank also aims to increase the share of e-payments to 50% by 2023. According to a report by the Better Than Cash Alliance, digital payments accounted around 10% of the total volume at the end of 2018.

Currently, GCash and PayMaya are focusing on sectors which have higher potentiality of growth, Nikkei Asian Review further reported.

GCash, in collaboration with the government, will equip the taxis with necessary systems that will enable them to take QR payments.

Additionally, the number of government institutions that accept digital payment through EGov Pay, which was launched last year, has grown recently.