People often give me puzzled looks when I try to describe my job here, and I don’t blame them. Since 2015 I have worked on an international development program that supports the Philippines’ shift from a cash-based economy to a cash-light economy, which will improve the livelihoods of Filipinos by getting more people involved in the formal economy.
Mert Tangonan is the chief of party of USAID’s E-PESO activity in the Philippines. E-PESO seeks to accelerate the shift toward digital payments for broad-based economic growth and financial inclusion in the Philippines.
For most practitioners, interoperability brings to mind images of switches, network connections, aggregators and interfaces — in short, the technical tools that allow modern payment systems to work together. However, CGAP’s new global scan on digital financial services interoperability makes it clear that exchanging payments is about much more than technical connections.
Mobile money has done more to extend the reach of financial services in the last decade than traditional “bricks and mortar” banking has in the last century.