Online transactions ‘better’ than holding cash: Central Bank

MANILA — Millions of Filipinos should transact digitally when possible and avoid hoarding cash, as banks move to keep branches and ATMs running during the 1-month lockdown of Luzon to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, the central bank said Sunday.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno assured the public that “there’s enough cash” as the central bank’s printing plant remains open with reduced working hours.

“There’s enough cash. There’s also a risk if you hold a lot of cash. I would suggest that to the extent they can use, if they can transact business electronically then that’s better than holding cash,” Diokno told ANC.

Banks are urged to suspend all charges imposed on the use of online banking, including those on the use of instapay and the pesonet to “enable consumers to facilitate online banking transactions,” Diokno added.

The Luzon Island group, home to half the Philippines’ 100 million population is under “enhanced” quarantine. People are required to stay in their homes and transportation is restricted.

Banks have reassured clients that they were keeping open as many branches as possible, some on shortened operating hours.