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    20% of mobile phone users may lose digital payments access

    “We urge mobile phone users to register their SIM cards now that the SIM registration deadline has been extended for 90 days. They have more time to comply with the law,” said Lito Villanueva, founding chairman of the FinTech Alliance Philippines. As of recent development, the SIM registration deadline has been extended for 90 days, announced by Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Tuesday.

    The Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration Act (RA 11934) mandated that all SIMs in the country be registered by April 26, 2023, to safeguard consumers against nefarious practices, including scams. But the major telecommunication companies in the country complained about the low registration turnout and have requested an extension, bringing up the lack of valid IDs and digital literacy as hindrances.

    The fintech industry greatly encourages everyone’s adherence to this mandate as unregistered SIM card users may hinder digital payment processes, electronic transactions, and one-time-pin authorizations. With more registered SIM card users, we can continue to onboard more and more unbanked Filipinos into the financial ecosystem with ease and without interruption.

    “Under this law, we aim to dramatically reduce cases of mule accounts, bots, and fraudulent transactions. This will improve the security, safety, and trust among digital users,” Villanueva added.

    As of April 20, 2023, a total of 76,927,923 subscribers have registered their SIMs, equivalent to around 45 percent of the 168 million subscriber base nationwide.

    Based on telcos’ estimate, a huge portion of the 168 million subscriber base are “disposable” SIMs, which are used temporarily.

    “Their actual estimate is close to 100 million active SIMs. If we use that figure as basis, then we have 78 to 79 million registered SIMs. The registration rate is hitting almost 80 percent,” said Secretary Ivan Uy of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

    Fintech Alliance.ph is the Philippines’ largest association of fintech startups and unicorns generating over 90 percent of digital financial transactions in the country today.

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