During the USAID-supported Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines – Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (RBAP-MABS) Roundtable Conference held last November 9, 2011 at Hyatt Hotel in Manila featured updates on mobile phone banking for rural banks as well as new global trends. During the conference, Mr. Petalcorin gave updates on the RBAP-MABS Program Mobile Phone Banking Services initiative: including various recent accreditation trainings for rural banks in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao regions for both GCASH and Smart Money platforms as well as lessons learned during the Mobile Phone Banking Channel Management pilot. Some of the important lessons we have learned over the past year include:
- How rural banks can make effective use of merchant-partners as cash in / cash out (CICO) outlets to further promote the registration of mobile phone banking customers as well as to better promote the various uses of mobile money to support access to banking services;
- How rural banks can provide liquidity to CICO outlets in order to better maintain the outlets mobile money float and to better support access to mobile money cash-in and cash-out services for the bank’s mobile phone banking client base;
- The importance of focusing on the appropriate “use cases” in promoting mobile phone banking uptake;
- The growing importance of the Philippine government’s support for Government to Person (G2P) transfers using mobile money such as DSWD’s “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program” conditional cash transfer program that utilizes GCASH;
- The continuous issuance and updates from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas which continue to enable and expand the various uses of mobile money platforms to support greater access to banking services.
RBAP-MABS also shared new developments in the area of financial education to promote mobile phone banking services of rural bank clients. The financial education initiative, which is supported by Microfinance Opportunities and the MasterCard Foundation (view article), aims to promote the benefits of shifting from traditional over-the-counter banking to mobile phone banking. The initiative involves the development of a financial education toolkit, which will be used by bank staff to teach clients and merchants about the benefits of mobile phone banking as well as to address frequently asked questions in order to promote uptake and usage.
As of end-October 2011, RBAP-MABS has helped accredit more than 1,100 participating rural bank branches to offer mobile phone banking services, benefiting over 311,000 clients while processing more than PhP12 billion (US$275 million) in mobile phone banking transactions since 2006. Included in these figures are over 100,000 recipients of the Philippine government’s conditional cash transfer program Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).