MANILA — Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan said acceptance by consumers, not just having the necessary infrastructure, is needed for digital payment systems to be successful.
“Part of the challenge of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) as a community and within each country is precisely to inculcate that consciousness and the practice of using digital methods,” he said in one of the panel discussions during the three-day ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2017 that ended Tuesday.
Pangilinan, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Hong Kong-headquartered First Pacific Company Ltd, which owns Metro Pacific Investment Corporation, telecommunications company PLDT and Philex Mining Corporation.
He said some people who have been presented of debit card or cash card for the first time are puzzled on how they can use the card.
This attitude, he said, is what should be changed because people need to understand the advantage of using technology in payment transactions.
Pangilinan said both the private companies and the government are firm on putting the necessary infrastructure to improve digital technology in the country.
He said financial technology and electronic commerce (e-commerce) is now the way to go. But despite this, a large number of the population remains unaccustomed or not exposed to this.
Citing current data, he said about 40 percent of Filipinos have smart or smart-like phones and telecommunication companies can tap this situation as an opportunity to provide a venue for digital transactions.
Pangilinan said there are around 117 million mobile subscribers in the country, more than the 100.98 million based on government data as of August 2015.
“The whole point about all of this digital pivot especially from the telco side is we have to do it. We have no choice. If we don’t do it some others will do it for us,” he said.