Under the “new normal” dictated by COVID-19, contactless solutions are perceived to be the best way of distributing cash assistance to families and households greatly affected by the pandemic.

In the Philippines, the distribution of financial aid under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) to beneficiaries is still implemented on ground. Left with no other choice, thousands of people have flocked to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) distribution centers in their respective local government units to receive the cash grant. Social distancing protocols were impossible to follow due to the high volume of beneficiaries lining up for financial assistance, thus increasing the risk of contracting the virus.

Aside from a higher risk of spreading COVID-19 brought about by the lack of social distancing in distribution centers, using bank notes is also a possible way of transmitting the virus. Health experts found that paper money increases the risk of coronavirus transmission since harmful bacteria and viruses can survive on its surface for several days. 

“The current situation demands us to think out of the box to flatten the curve. GCash, the leading mobile wallet in the Philippines, is more than ready to help the national government shift from paper money to digital finance for quick, safe and secure data-driven transactions. This is also the best way to decongest SAP distribution centers when social distancing is a mandatory protocol we should all follow,” GCash Vice President for Enterprise Luigi Reyes said.  

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno encouraged citizens to go cashless to prevent crowds from forming in essential establishments during quarantine. In the duration of the community quarantine, foreign and local banks alike reported a sharp increase in digital transactions as more and more Filipinos discover the wonders of digital finance.

With the implementation of general community quarantine in the country’s capital and a modified general community quarantine in most areas until June 30, innovative ways of distribution are called for to support public efforts to flatten the curve and to promote public health.

Mobile wallets are not only a matter of convenience anymore. In the face of a pandemic, they have almost become a necessity, since digital fund transfer supports the government’s initiative to keep people in their homes. Aside from this, going digital also promotes transparency and efficiency in keeping track of public funds since every transaction leaves a digital footprint with both the beneficiary and the government agency.

“In a time when lower-income households are struggling to make ends meet, SAP distribution should be faster and more efficient. Digital wallets can address the urgency demanded by the current situation since all it takes is a click to send the cash assistance to the intended beneficiaries,” Reyes said. 

GCash provides a safer and better alternative to cash as it reduces costs and increases efficiency of transactions, better transparency and security, offers greater convenience, and promotes financial inclusion. 

In fact, some local governments have already resorted to contactless solutions through GCash in disbursing economic aid to their residents. Instead of manual disbursement through city hall employees or through physical facilities, Makati City has partnered with GCash to efficiently and safely provide aid to its constituents. 

Makati is the first city in Metro Manila to implement contactless financial assistance through GCash and the Makatizen Card. Beneficiaries can dispense with bank notes and just use their GCash app in buying groceries, paying bills, and other tasks. Long lines at the bank are also dispensed with since GCash allows users to transfer money to their preferred bank. 

Pasig City has also tapped GCash for the pilot implementation of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Adaptable Digitally-Enabled Post Crisis Transformation (ADEPT) Project. This project aims to help an initial 600 families to receive their supplemental SAP via GCash. 

“GCash is always willing to partner with local government units like Makati and Pasig to support their efforts in preventing further spread of COVID-19. We look forward to collaborating with various governments, agencies, and even non-government organizations to provide contactless disbursement solutions to support the flattening of the curve,” Reyes added.

Globe Fintech Innovations Inc. (Mynt), which operates GCash, is part of the portfolio companies of 917Ventures, the largest corporate incubator in the Philippines wholly-owned by Globe Telecom Inc. 

GCash is available for download on the App Store and Google Play. For more information, kindly visit https://www.gcash.com/.

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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.