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Philippines Cards & Payments Market Report

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  • Published Date: May 2021


A fully researched survey of the cards, payments and consumer banking market in the Philippines, with perceptive commentary backed by relevant data.
Given the young population, a Covid-accelerated migration to digital and mobile money and QR on the rise, major opportunities are opening in the Philippines.
With so many unbanked people and low card ownership, QR payments present a new and relatively frictionless way for the financially excluded to access payments. Remittances from overseas workers, too, remain a significant opportunity.
The Philippines remains a cash-heavy society with a large unbanked population. However, aided by the low uptake of traditional financial services, the already popular mobile wallet usage is forecast to surge.
A new instant payments service, InstaPay, was launched in 2018, which should encourage innovation in the payments sector and accelerate the growth of digital payments.
The central bank introduced a national QR Code standard in 2019, with implementation now underway. Interoperability should create a more user-friendly market.

What to learn from this Philippines 2021 cards market report:

The challenges for the Philippines' credit card market.
How debit and credit cards are perceived.
Where prepaid cards are being used in the Philippines.
Why mobile payments are becoming so popular.
Which revenue streams have been improving.


  • The Philippines remains a cash-heavy society with a large unbanked population.
  • Aided by the low uptake of traditional financial services (including payment cards), usage of the already popular mobile wallet is forecast to surge.
  • A new instant payments service, InstaPay, was launched in 2018, which should encourage innovation in the payments sector and accelerate digital payments.
  • The central bank introduced a national QR Code standard in 2019 with implementation now underway. Interoperability should create a more user-friendly market.
  • Debit cards are the most popular form of payment card and accounted for 83 percent of the credit and debit cards in circulation in 2020.
  • Credit card penetration is low, with around seven percent of adults having one. Industry profits were hit by a newly imposed interest rate cap of 24 percent in 2020.
  • B2C e-commerce sales almost doubled in 2020 as remote shopping surged during the pandemic.
  • E-wallets are forecast to take on a larger market share of B2C e-commerce payments in future: in 2020, they represented an eleven percent market share.
  • The rise in e-commerce is driving a Buy now, pay later (BNPL) surge, with new providers leveraging e-wallets for the purchase and repayment steps.

Philippines Payments Research | Report Contents

Demographics and the economy
Payments environment
Cards market
Mobile payments
Profit pool
The networks
Key retail banks and issuers
Acquiring and processing
Online acquiring
Regulatory and other cards market information

Philippines Country Report Data Tables
(All 2014-23F unless otherwise stated)

1: Demographic and economic indicators.
2: Ownership of key consumer devices.
3: Internet usage by population.
4: Access points: 2014-21E.
5: Account penetration.
6: Consumer payment trends: 2014-21E.
7: B2C e-commerce payment methods: 2014-21E.
8: Total card payment metrics.
9: Contactless cards metrics.
10: Credit card numbers.
11: Total credit cards metrics.
12: Credit card profitability indicators.
13: Debit card numbers.
14: Debit card metrics.
15: Pre-paid/e-money card metrics.
16: Mobile money metrics.
17: Profit pool: credit card numbers, billed volumes, oustandings, interest incomes, net interest revenues, merchant revenues, card fee revenues, other non-interest incomes, total revenues, net credit losses, operating expenses, total expenses, pre-tax profits, merchant service charges, rollover rates, APR, net credit losses to outstandings, operating costs to revenues, ROA (pre-tax profits to outstandings).

(All 2014-21E below unless otherwise stated)

18: Networks' credit card market shares.
19: Networks' credit card data numbers.
20: Networks' credit card billed volume.
21: Networks' number of credit card transactions.
22: Networks' average credit card transaction value.
23: Credit card interchange fees by network.
24: Networks' debit card market shares.
25: Networks' debit card numbers.
26: Networks' debit card billed volume.
27: Networks' number of debit card transactions.
28: Networks' average debit card transaction value.
29: Debit card interchange fees by network.
30: Key credit card issuers market shares by credit card numbers: 2016-21E.
31: Key issuers market shares in credit card outstandings: 2016-21E.
32: Key debit card issuers market shares by debit card numbers: 2016-21E.
33: Merchant acquirer credit card market share: 2020E.
35: Merchant acquirer debit card market share: 2020.
36: Debit card merchant service charges: 2014-23F.
37: Credit card issuer/issuing processor relationships: -.
38: Credit card acquirer/acquiring processor relationships: -.
39: Credit card issuing processor market shares by card numbers: 2020.
40: Credit card acquiring processor market shares by the number of POS transactions: 2020.
41: Online merchant acquirer market share. 2020.

Philippines Country Report | Selected Extracts

Demographics and Economy
The country's population was 108.8 million at the end of 2020. People aged 15 or older comprised 69.7% of the population in 2020. According to the official statistician, the population is expected to reach 125 million by 2030.

Payments Environment
The Philippines remains a cash-heavy society: some 79% of the value of payments were made using cash during 2020. This is largely due to informal activity, which takes up to 60% of the entire economy, and the large size of the unbanked adult population.

Payment Cards Market
Cash remains the predominant payment method. Nonetheless, there has been positive transaction growth using cards, albeit at a very slow pace, on foot of promotions by acquirers and issuers, as well as the growing popularity of e-commerce.

Mobile Payments
Filipinos are increasingly using mobile payments, with active e-money accounts increasing from 8.8 million in 2019 to around 14.2 million in 2020. Covid-19 and its countermeasures provided a considerable uplift to the already significant expansion of mobile payments.

Profit Pool
Credit cards are overwhelmingly used as a means of payment in the Philippines; around 95% of credit card billed volume and credit card transactions were made at the POS and 4% online in 2020.

Card Networks
At the end of 2020, Mastercard and Visa had a combined market share of 95% in terms of card numbers; the remaining share was divided among Diners Club, American Express and JCB. While the national scheme dominates the debit cards market, there has been an increase in internationally branded cards.

Key Retail Banks and Issuers
The Philippines is composed of a variety of banks, broadly divided into 464 universal and commercial banks (UCBs), 48 thrift banks, and 441 rural and cooperative banks, as well as a growing number of non-bank financial institutions, some of which perform quasi-banking activities.

Acquiring and Processing
Citibank Philippines is the largest foreign commercial bank in the country in terms of assets, revenue, and profitability. It also operates the Institutional Clients Group (ICG), a leading provider of financial services. Most banks carry out in-house processing as, according to industry sources, the cost of outsourcing to external processors is normally higher.

Online Acquiring
The e-commerce market is small compared to other countries in the region; it accounted for about 4% of the total retail sales here in 2020. Despite an above-average internet and smartphone penetration, various challenges are hampering the growth of e-commerce.

Regulatory and Markets Information
The central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), approved a framework in November 2020 allowing the creation and licensing of digital banks as part of the effort to extend financial services. According to the BSP, the ruling was a result of Filipinos increasingly turning to digital banking.

Philippines Payments Market | Entities Referenced

American Express
and Union Bank
Asian Development Bank
Banco De Oro Unibank
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
Bank of the Philippine Islands
BDO Unibank
Cathay Pacific Airlines
Citibank Philippines
Credit Card Association of the Philippines
Diners Club
EastWest Bank
East-West Banking Corporation
El Banco Espanol Filipino de Isabel II
Globe Telecom
Home Credit
HSBC Philippines
ING Bank
Institutional Clients Group
International Monetary Fund
International Telecommunication Union
Land Bank of the Philippines
Lazada Philippines
Light Rail Transit Authority
Metro Rail Transit Corporation
Metrobank Card Corporation
Metropolitan Bank and Trust
Monetary Board
National Retail Payment System
North Luzon Expressway
Philippine Airlines
Philippine Statistics Authority
Philippines National Bank
Philippines Savings Bank
Philippines Veterans Bank
RCBC Bankard
Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation Bankard
Security Bank
Singapore Airlines
SM Group
Smart Communications
Standard Chartered
Sterling Bank of Asia
Union Bank of the Philippines
World Bank


Reports include detailed market and competitor intelligence on payments cards, e-money, acquiring, retail banking, and consumer credit in the Asia Pacific region. Analysts use primary and secondary source data and conduct in-depth interviews with senior industry executives and finance experts.

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