The Philippines: Overcoming the ATM Gap
Access to Cash: The First Step toward Financial Inclusion
Produced by ATMIA
Contributed by AGIS Consulting
March 2017

Despite explosive economic development, a large portion of Philippine citizens also remain without easy access to ATM services. The presence of ATMs is equal to 25.27 machines per 100,000 people, according to the World Bank.24 Yet the country remains attached to cash, accounting for 95% of its transactions.25

ENCASH, a company already involved in extending ATM networks to rural areas, announced a new solution in August 2016 in partnership with FEXCO, a global company specializing in financial solutions, including remittances and applications. Their project, EasyDebit, would let customers use a plug-in device on their mobile phones to withdraw funds from merchants. It is said to provide the same security as an ATM machine and may be leased affordably to merchants without any requirements on minimum balances or transaction amounts. Commercial banks have also designed mobile ATMs–cash-dispensers fitted on trucks–which enable them to extend their reach to remote areas.26 The units typically provide cash withdrawals, fund transfers, bill payment and payroll services. Moreover, the mobile ATMs play a key role in disaster recovery programs and are often deployed in areas which have been devastated by typhoons.27

The advent of mobile ATMs may represent a shift away from the many mobile payment systems popular in the Philippines. Most remittances across the provinces are done through pawn shops, pharmacies and small stores using prepaid mobile credits. These solutions have burdensome transaction costs and do not allow withdrawal from ATM-enabled accounts.28