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BSP: Protect your money, use bank services

THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) urges residents to use banking services for their financial needs and to safeguard their savings while highlighting the benefits they can enjoy.

BSP Visayas Director Anna Clara Oville, during a media information session on Tuesday, May 7, 2024, highlighted the advantages of saving money in banks rather than using makeshift piggy banks or storing cash under mattresses.

She said that while storing money in piggy banks may seem convenient, they do not provide the same level of protection and accessibility as bank accounts. Banking services also offer numerous benefits, such as accessibility to various financial products and services.

Oville acknowledged that parents often encourage their children to start saving with piggy banks, leading them to continue this practice into adulthood. However, she said the public should outgrow this habit as it is disadvantageous to savers.

“When we save our coins in alkansiya (piggy banks), that is actually coin hoarding,” she said, which is not allowed under their Coin Recirculation Program.

Under the program, the BSP encourages the public to refrain from unnecessarily accumulating coins, and instead use them to pay for goods and services or deposit them in banks.

Oville said saving coins and bills might also be risky, especially since some people might have forgotten that they saved money in the past, which could lead to issues during demonetization.

Demonetization is the process by which a government or central bank declares certain currency notes or coins as invalid legal tender. This means that the specified currency notes or coins can no longer be used for financial transactions or as a medium of exchange.

She said that even now, there are people who come forward to have their old banknotes changed for new ones. However, she said there is only a five-year allowance to accommodate the numerous extensions given to facilitate the transition.

Oville cited examples, such as one bank client who attempted to exchange P2 million worth of old banknotes past the deadline, which was not accepted. In another incident, a banker discovered that their mother had been saving P200,000 in bills hidden under the mattress, intended for building their dream house.

Marianne Santos, director of the Economic and Financial Learning Office, said when saving in banks, savers receive interest, which will grow the amount of money over time.

She also said saving money can contribute to a more efficient allocation of resources, promote economic growth, and enhance the stability and resilience of the financial system, ultimately benefiting the broader economy and society.

She said once the bank receives a deposit, it will use it for more economic activity, which also helps the country’s economy.

Santos also said saving physical money does not spare one from threat of fire and termites.

She then encouraged Filipinos to take advantage of the various financial literacy programs and initiatives offered by the BSP and other financial institutions to enhance their understanding of banking services and financial management.

The BSP said there are 27.5 million e-wallet users and 18 million traditional bank account owners in the country.

SunStar Cebu tried to get current data on the number of unbanked Filipinos; however, the BSP had yet to provide one.

The BSP, on its official website, said the number of unbanked Filipino adults dropped to 34.3 million (44 percent of the total adult population) in 2021 from 51.2 million in 2019, or a decrease of 16.9 million starting 2021.

Unbanked refers to adult Filipinos who do not own any type of formal account in a bank, e-money issuer, cooperative, or microfinance institution./ KJF

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