In Focus
CARDS & PAYMENTS | Staff Reporter, Philippines

Agreement to boost mobile banking in the Philippines

The Philippines and the United States have entered into an agreement that will give Filipinos more access to mobile banking and payment services.

The Scaling Innovations in Mobile Money (SIMM) initiative, which was approved by both governments, will take advantage of the high penetration rate of mobile phone subscribers to extend financial services to Filipinos from any place in the country.

It also aims to enable more Filipinos to enjoy access to financial services in a more affordable and efficient manner by expanding mobile money services.

Only 26% of Filipinos have access to formal financial channels while 610 or 37% of the Philippines’ 1,635 towns having no access to banks.

"It builds upon USAID/Philippines’ current work in microfinance and mobile banking to expand opportunity and financial services through new technologies,” said USAID administrator Rajiv Shah.

USAID Philippines Mission director Gloria Steele said the success of this project relies heavily on the participation of the private sector. Key areas for private sector involvement include the payment system, government services and electronic payroll distribution.

The project is an offshoot of the Partnership for Growth Agreement to reduce growth barriers in the Philippines signed by Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last year.

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