Empowering Filipinos to save with 3 easy tips

By 2nd Opinion

Since quarantine restrictions were imposed almost a year ago, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) found that a growing number of Filipinos were able to set aside more of their salary since many stayed at home. Likewise, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) observed 900,000 newly registered businesses and more online retailers in the same period.

But there are still some who have trouble saving—be it for their personal expenses or funds to improve their businesses. “Only 53% of Filipinos save—of this, only 21% put their money in bank accounts. Most of our fellowmen also borrow money from informal sources for their everyday essentials where the high interest rates become one of the reasons they fall into debt,” said Chuchi Fonacier, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) deputy general.

This is why it’s equally important to empower them, especially unbanked individuals and business owners, to start saving and be smart about their spending habits.

Here are some helpful advice on how they can start from RCBC DiskarTech’s Ipon Galing virtual launch.

Start small

A common misconception is that you need to have a large sum to start a savings account. But as Joyce Sufieciencia, director of the BSP’s financial inclusion office, noted, one can set aside a small amount and build it up for the next few months. The money can be used for personal and/or business expenses, as well as an emergency fund amid the pandemic.

Open a basic deposit account

These days, you don’t have to physically go to your nearest bank branch to open an account. We’ve seen a rise in digital banking last year, allowing customers to deposit and transfer money and even pay bills in the comfort of their homes. “Our phones aren’t just for social media use or gaming. It can also be used for financial transactions,” said Lito Villanueva, RCBC executive vice president and chief innovation and inclusion officer. A basic deposit account will not only encourage you to save, but it will also keep your money safe and secure.

Have a clear financial goal

Whether it’s buying supplies for your business or planning for the long term, you should always have a goal in mind. This will motivate you to be smart about your spending and maintain your business. Once you hit your financial milestones, celebrate it and continue managing your expenses.

To encourage and assist more Filipinos to save, DiskarTech has introduced Ipon Galing, a raffle promo that rewards users up to five percent rebate, also known as Ipon Rewards, for every qualified transaction not exceeding P1,000. These include e-gaming pin and load purchases, government and bills payment, insurance, and telemedicine subscriptions.

There’s also the Doble Ipon raffle where 20 winners from Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao will get the chance to double their deposit amount based on their average daily balance. This will be on top of DiskarTech’s 3.25% annual interest on savings.

“In the book Poor Economics, written by Nobel Prize winning author Abhijit Banerjee, they say that the poor also need accounts because they don’t have consistent income streams and they need to set aside money for food when they don’t have jobs or a time when they don’t have work. So I’m happy that we’re working with the DTI and BSP on this Ipon Galing project. It’s time that we encourage more Filipinos to start the savings habit,” said Eugene Acevedo, RCBC president and chief executive officer.

“We started Ipon Galing to raise Filipinos’ awareness and knowledge on the importance of saving. As we’ve seen during the height of the pandemic, if you don’t have savings and you unfortunately lost your job or got sick, you might have trouble. If you have savings for any emergency, you can get by,” Villanueva added.

Full story here.