Delivering Cash Transfers Digitally Amidst COVID-19 in the Philippines - Policy Note

Delivering Cash Transfers Digitally Amidst COVID-19 in the Philippines

Feb 3, 2021

Providing cash transfers is a key economic response to support vulnerable households during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Philippines, these cash transfers are often given directly to individuals using physical cash, a process that is logistically difficult, can be more costly, and presents transmission risks.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Philippines supported Pasig City to implement a pilot for disbursing its Supplemental Social Amelioration Program (SSAP) through a local Mobile Money Operator (MMO), with targeted Financial and Mobile Money Literacy Training. The Adaptable Digitally Enabled Post-Crisis Transformation in Pasig City Local Government Unit (LGU) (ADEPT-Pasig City) Project aimed to improve the efficiency and transparency of cash transfers by disbursing through mobile wallets instead of physical cash and promote greater financial inclusion among households. This pilot, implemented from April-November 2020, was made possible through the UNDP COVID-19 Rapid Response Facility.

This brief presents findings of an evaluation of a digital cash transfer disbursement pilot project during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines. Our findings present beneficiaries’ perceptions and experience of digital cash transfers and their financial behavior upon gaining access to mobile money. We share recommendations for scaling up this model with other national government agencies (NGAs), local government units (LGUs), and mobile money operators (MMOs).

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