With restricted mobility and limited options due to the enhanced community quarantine of the whole island of Luzon and local lockdowns of other cities and provinces, Filipinos may opt to send and receive money to and from their loved ones via their mobile phones.

Aside from mobile wallets being more convenient — as anyone with a mobile digital finance account could transfer money anytime and anywhere — the use of financial technology for fund transfers also supports the government’s initiative of keeping people in their homes.

The government has declared the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as a national health emergency, with various national and local government units implementing strict home quarantine procedures to stop the further transmission of the deadly virus.

GCash, the leading mobile wallet in the Philippines, emphasized that Filipinos should leverage a financial ecosystem that allows them to do more with less, especially during emergencies.

“We highly encourage the use of fintech platforms for both individuals and businesses to complement the initiatives of both the government and the private sector. We at GCash vow to facilitate the swift and reliable transfer of money from one mobile account to another in support of the collaborative efforts to fight COVID-19,” GCash President Anthony Thomas said.

Through their GCash apps, users may send money to other GCash users or even account holders of other bank accounts and financial institutions.

Express Send, found under the Send Money Tile, allows GCash users to send money to another GCash account in real-time and for free. They may also include a short message to the receiver when using this feature.

Aside from withdrawing cash from their digital wallets, GCash account holders may use their funds to transact either online or offline. This further reduces the need for GCash users to go out and handle cash during the enhanced community quarantine.

Meanwhile, GCash account holders may also transfer funds to almost 40 banks and other financial institutions through the Bank Transfer feature. GCash users simply have to select the bank of the receiver, input the receiver’s details and the amount to be sent, and click send. This service is for free and bank transfer is real-time.

Banks and traditional remittance centers charge fees for transferring funds. Some could go as high as P500.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno already sought the cooperation of banks and other financial institutions in giving relief to those using banking services during the heightened national emergency.

“We strongly encourage our supervised financial institutions to temporarily suspend all fees and charges imposed on the use of online banking platforms or electronic money, including those imposed on the use of Instapay or PesoNet electronic fund transfer. This will enable the general public to facilitate banking transactions during the Covid-19 situation,” Diokno was quoted as saying.

Sending and receiving money via GCash — whether peer-to-peer or interbank — have always been free since day one.

“For more than a decade now, GCash fund transfer services have always remained free. We remain committed to ensuring that our services directly make an impact on the lives of many Filipinos by providing them with low-cost, efficient, and reliable financial services just like fund transfers,” Thomas said.

Aside from leveraging fintech to transfer funds, GCash also encourages Filipinos to help #FightCOVID19 by joining the digital donation drive that it launched in the GCash app. Through this, anyone with a GCash account can help support frontline health workers. To donate, GCash users simply have to click on the “Pay Bills” icon, choose “Others,” click on the “FightCOVID19” option, and then input the amount that they would like to donate before hitting send.

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Christian Melanie Lee is a freelance social media manager, chatbot builder, and web developer. She is managing her other blogs under food, music/concert, and Hallyu niche. In 2018, she had her stint as The Itchyworms' social media manager which lead her to do music photography in her spare time.