Cashless Payments are Now Available in This City’s Wet Markets

Pasig City rolls out cashless payments in their wet markets, making it the first Metro Manila city to implement digital transactions. Here’s how entrepreneurs can leverage this.

According to a report made by Visa Philippines, 70% of Filipinos have gone cashless. What’s more, the report added that four out of five respondents prefer digital payments because of their convenience and speed. These positive figures are clear signs that the country is gearing toward a digital economy. And yes, Filipinos are more than ready to go cashless.

Given this existing market trend and consumers’ preference, Pasig City implements digital payments in their mega market on March 3—the first of its kind in Metro Manila and the sixth across the nation. In fact, 2100 vendors, or two-thirds of their accredited public market vendors have already signed up.

Paleng-QR Program

Before Pasig City rolled out its cashless payment service for wet markets, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) launched the ‘Paleng-QR’ program in a move to build a healthy digital ecosystem for the country. And although the project was launched last year, it was well-received by some local government units (LGUs), as they too are becoming more open to modern transactions.

“Capitalizing on the QR Ph initiative, the program seeks the policy championship and enjoins local government units (LGUs) to push for the acceptance of digital payments among market vendors, community shopkeepers, and tricycle operators and drivers (TODA) in all cities and municipalities in the country,” the BSP wrote in an advisory.

Other cities have become early adopters of the ‘Paleng-QR’ campaign. Baguio City is the first LGU to implement the program—followed by Davao, Tagbilaran, Lapu-Lapu, Naga, and now, Pasig City. 

The BSP is becoming more aggressive with the campaign as it continues to talk with banks to eliminate fund transfer fees for low-value transactions. “Our dream in the [BSP] is to make financial digital transactions, especially the small-value ones, interoperable and free of charge. We are looking for a solution and we’re working closely with the banks and e-wallet operators,” BSP Governor Felipe Medalla said in an interview.

Borne From the Pandemic

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) traces this market trend to the pandemic’s impact. During the height of the pandemic, Filipinos were pushed to go into e-commerce and make digital purchases. Thus, it can be said that the pandemic ushered the Filipinos into a cashless economy. 

“Filipinos believe [that] COVID-19 has accelerated the country’s transition to a cashless society by at least 3 years. Now, 7 out of 10 consumers anticipate that the Philippines can become fully cashless within the next 7 to 10 years,” Visa country manager Dan Wolbert stated. 

Aside from more people using digital transactions, payment options are now becoming more varied with many Fintech companies coming out with new cashless payment options. According to Visa’s Consumer Payment Attitudes report, 64% of Filipinos prefer mobile wallets, while 52% use online card payments, 44% choose card payments at physical stores and 31% use QR codes. 

“While cash is still commonplace in the Philippines, the preference for cashless payments is clearly gaining momentum. Our study showed more Filipinos are confident to get by without cash and for longer periods of time—with more than half feeling confident to get by for a week or longer, as cashless payment options grow,” Wolbert added.

What This Means for Business Owners

Both the government and the private sector are expressing support for digital transactions and just as many Fintech companies are rolling out cashless services. What’s more, the BSP is becoming proactive in pushing for the removal of fund transfer fees! This means that Filipinos are well on their way toward a cashless economy.

With that being said, business owners must also adapt to this digitization. 

To start, business owners should offer digital purchase options for their customers by setting up their business e-wallets and online banks. And merchants with stores must always make their e-wallet QR codes available. Likewise, business owners may also join e-commerce and online shopping networks to expand their reach. 

Failure to adapt to the market’s preferences may slow the growth of a business and worse, even cause them to lose sales. Thus, business owners must always be open to their consumers’ ever-changing behaviors—part of which includes the shift to online, cashless payments.