Cashless transaction for the poor

The poor are always the last to benefit from any improvement in technology, especially digital technology. A possible exception is the digital financial service made available to the tens of millions of unbanked poor households, especially in the rural areas where 75 percent of those who fall below the poverty line reside. In a recent trip to Davao, I talked to a friend who is in charge of marketing the services of digital financial services leader PayMaya. Those who benefit from these services are mostly among the unbanked 75 percent of the population. In many areas of Mindanao, the poverty incidence can be as high as 60 percent, in contrast with the national average of 21 percent and 4 percent in the National Capital Region. My friend Joey Manulid told me that in the hinterlands of Agusan del Norte, some forestry workers are already receiving their wages via PayMaya Negosyo-Smart Padala from the enterprise owner who is based in Butuan City. In Panabo, Davao del Norte, banana plantation workers pay their utility bills and buy airtime load though a PayMaya Negosyo agent in their neighborhood. This is quite an improvement from their past practice of taking a 50-kilometer roundtrip ride on habal habal and tricycles to the poblacion. In Cagayan de Oro, BPO workers send money to their parents in Bukidnon via PayMaya Negosyo agents.

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