M-money as Conduit for Conditional Cash Transfers in the Philippines

Erwin A. Alampay, Charlie Cabotaje

Abstract


Many developing countries provide conditional cash transfers (CCTs) for their poorest families. In the Philippines, CCT use has expanded rapidly such that in five years the amount of transfers increased by 3,300%, with PHP34 billion (US$801 million) disbursed in 2013. This expansion of deliveries has complicated government logistics. In an effort to reach the poor in all areas of the country, the government partnered with the telecommunication firm Globe’s network of GCash merchants to provide direct cash payouts to CCT beneficiaries. This article investigates the CCT implementation through the cash-based GCash Remit system to determine its effectiveness, efficiency, and security. A cost comparison was done between the GCash Remit mode of CCT delivery and the potential use of noncash mobile money (m-money) platforms already in the market. The study is based on field observations, a randomized survey of 194 CCT beneficiaries, interviews with CCT program implementers and m-money providers, and scrutiny of the tariff data of m-money providers.

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