7 Benefits of Moving from Physical to Digital Payments

March 25, 2021
Reading Time
4 minute read

In the Philippines, cash has been king for a very long time. This is largely due to the significant number of Filipinos who remain unbanked; as of 2019, the number is pegged at more than 51 million. This is despite the fact that a majority of those unbanked have smartphones and that more than 50 percent of Filipino adults have access to the internet.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic quickly changed the “cash is king” mindset. Due to the restrictions placed early in 2020 to help minimize the spread of the virus, Filipinos have had to get used to digital payments. A small survey by fintech company PayPal revealed that 87 percent of the responders increased their usage of digital payments during the height of the pandemic.

Cashless payments have indeed become the new normal, with Maya alone recording 28 million customers by the end of 2020. Digital transactions made through Maya have also increased at a steady rate. The biggest spike was recorded in May, with over 1000 percent growth from May 2019.

What’s great about digital payments is that their benefits are easily appreciable and far-reaching. Even after the pandemic is over, these benefits won’t “disappear” or become less relevant. In fact, with more and more people using digital alternatives to cash, it’s easy to conclude that digital payments will continue to enjoy consistent growth and usage post-COVID.

That said, aside from the obvious health and safety benefits, here are just a few advantages of digital payments over physical methods:

It Saves Time

Have you ever bought something from a supermarket or perhaps a convenience store and been asked by the cashier, “Wala po ba kayong smaller bill?” This is a common occurrence that, while harmless, takes a lot of time.

Just imagine the process. First, the customer will have to dig through their wallet or bag. If they aren’t able to provide the exact amount, the cashier will have to count the correct change; they may even need to call a supervisor to swap larger bills with coins. The result: a long queue and a crowded shop.

With digital payments, you can avoid this situation entirely. Depending on the kind of digital payment method you offer, your customers only need to scan, swipe, or tap. Maya #ScanToPay is particularly quick, since customers only need to scan a QR code using their smartphones and then input the corresponding amount. In addition, this is not just a cashless option but also a contactless one. Thus, it’s not only faster but also safer.

It Improves Efficiency and Productivity

As previously mentioned, using digital payments means faster transactions that can, in turn, keep queues from getting unmanageable. For business owners, this simply means you can accommodate more customers without having to spend more resources. Instead, you can reassign your staff to other roles that can help you improve your products and services.

You can also keep up or even increase productivity, since your employees won’t be overburdened or stressed. This can greatly improve your team’s overall health, which minimizes sick days—definitely a win-win situation for everyone involved, even and especially your customers!

It Optimizes the Customer Experience

Whether they’re used online or in-store, digital payments can help optimize the customer experience. For e-commerce, in particular, digital payment options means your customers don’t have to wait for business hours to complete their purchase. All they have left to do is to stand by for the arrival of their orders.

For traditional in-store shopping, digital payments can minimize wait times. Again, there’s no need to count bills and coins because your customers will always be paying with the exact amount. You’ll also be giving people the freedom to choose their preferred payment method, whether that’s through a card or mobile wallet.

It Reduces Inaccuracies

Paying with cash is prone to inaccuracies. For example, both the customer and cashier may make mistakes when counting money. This can lead to frustration on the customer’s end, and losses on the business’s end.

With digital payments, there’s no need to worry about this situation since everything is automated. In certain circumstances, such as when scanning a QR code, the only detail that the customer has to input manually is the amount to be paid. Even then, they will still receive a prompt to check and confirm the amount before going through with the transaction.

It’s More Secure

Some people are skeptical with digital payments due to security concerns. However, they are actually less prone to fraud because “digital footprints” are easier to trace and monitor. If there are any disputes, they can be settled much faster because such records are very accessible.

In addition, because digital payments are relatively new, authorities are keeping a closer eye on them. Moreover, there are plenty of safeguards such as data encryption and two-factor authentication that can further boost security. All of these can provide a little more peace of mind to those customers who are reluctant to try this payment method.

Another thing that contributes to the security of digital payments is that the money is immediately deposited into the receiving account. There’s no need to transport actual physical money, which eliminates the threat of theft and potential financial losses. The near-instant transfer of funds also allows businesses to have a better grasp on their finances. This certainty is especially important for online merchants, since they have to rely on the goodwill of their customers to avoid getting scammed out of payments.

It Opens Your Business to Global Audiences

For online merchants, there’s a big opportunity to expand the business globally. In fact, there are a lot of customers who love to shop from international independent merchants because of unique merchandise and limited-edition products that are often not locally available.

To attract a worldwide customer base, online sellers must of course provide digital payment options. This is easy to do with Maya payment gateway, which you can use to install a checkout plugin on your website. With a seamless shopping experience, customers will be more likely to return and become loyal patrons.

There are still some barriers—like lack of infrastructure—that need to be overcome so that even more Filipinos can enjoy digital payments. For the most part, however, the continued increase of user base and usage frequency spell a bright future for these fintech solutions. If your business isn’t riding this wave yet, there’s no better time than now!


Why should we switch to digital payments? (santander.com)

17 Benefits of Electronic (In-Store) Payments - CCV EU

Advantages and Challenges of Accepting Online Payments (2checkout.com)

51.2 million Pinoys remain unbanked – BSP | Philstar.com

The Benefits of Digital Payments for B2B Businesses (paystand.com)