Enhancing MSME digitalization, promoting workers’ empowerment and advancing financial inclusion through responsible digital wage payments

Access to formal financial services remains a challenge for millions of people in the Philippines. According to the 2021 Financial Inclusion Survey of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, salaries in the private sector were still received in cash by 70 per cent of their payees, through cash agents by 23 per cent and only 17 per cent received their wages through direct credit to their financial account. Furthermore, four out of ten working adults, or about 18 million adults, are still unbanked.  Financial exclusion disproportionally affects lower-income classes, including workers in the informal economy and the agriculture sector, youth, those who are unemployed and less educated and micro, small and medium-sized (MSMEs) enterprises.

Conducive government policies and the rapid development of digital financial services, including payments and wage payments specifically, bring opportunities to advance financial inclusion. However, enterprises, particularly small ones, and their workers are facing challenges to adopt digital wage payments and maximize their use for their benefit.

We contribute to the further adoption of digital wage payments in the Philippines towards MSME digitalization, workers empowerment and financial inclusion. We carry out our efforts in partnership with the Employers Confederation of the Philippines and in cooperation with its affiliated business associations, as well as in collaboration with key government agencies, including the Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. We also engage with labour groups, such as the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, and members of the banking community and financial and payroll service providers, such as Fintech Alliance.PH.

Our intervention

  • Raise awareness and facilitating knowledge sharing on responsible digital wage payments among local enterprises, workers and policymakers;
  • Engage MSMEs, digital financial and payroll service providers and government agencies to collaborate in enhancing MSME digitalization, promoting workers’ empowerment and advancing financial inclusion;
  • Build capacities of employers’ organizations, workers’ groups and concerned government offices to promote responsible adoption and utilization of digital wage payments;
  • Support MSMEs to transition to digital wage payments responsibly through training and development of guidance tools and financial and digital wage payments literacy and advocacy materials;
  • Document enterprise experience and assessment of impact of implementing digital wage payments.

Our team

  • Richard Umali, National Officer