Friday 27 November, 2020

Philippines is making its financial system more accessible to citizens

The Philippines began to register millions of citizens for national identification on Monday, hoping to promote electronic payments and make it easier for low-income earners without bank accounts to access financial services. A survey found 73 per cent public support for the new ID system.

The project is expected to cost 27.8 billion-pesos ($575 million).

The country's current system has been criticized as inconvenient; the new system will grant each person a unique number that can be used across agencies which will hopefully make financial services more accessible to low-income workers who lack bank accounts as well as facilitate delivery of government services.

According to Bloomberg, the objective is to register 9 million heads of low-income families before year-end, with the goal of giving national IDs to all Filipinos by 2022.

Citizens and resident foreigners are required to register such information as name, sex, date of birth, place of birth, blood type, address and nationality. Biometric data -- fingerprints, facial photos and iris scans -- also will be stored. Officials from the Philippine statistics agency will visit homes to collect the personal information.

The system is scheduled to begin operation in the second half of 2021 for services such as visa issuances.

There are hopes that the ID system will accelerate growth of the digital economy and spark widespread use of electronic payments. 

The new national ID system could change how companies do business.

According to Bloomberg, "the government expects the national ID project to help achieve the central bank’s goal for 70 per cent of adults to have bank accounts by 2023, up from 29 per cent last year. 

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