Digitalization has resulted in substantial changes in various industries, allowing businesses to operate more efficiently and communicate with customers more responsively. Banks, in particular, have been able to harness new digital technology to transform their services and provide their clients with the ability to make financial transactions with just a few taps on their devices.
With the benefits of digital banking, should all banks transition to becoming fully digital? BDO Unibank believes there is a much better alternative, and that is by encouraging clients to go phygital – a combination of physical and digital banking.
A study by market and consumer data provider Statista in 2021 revealed that 94% of Filipinos still prefer to transact with cash despite the expanding availability of digital payment channels.
“Filipinos are still accustomed to using cash. Physical transactions with money provides them a sense of security because they can see and feel where their money is. For banking, we noticed that many of our BDO clients also still prefer transacting in branches because they enjoy dealing with another person,” said BDO Unibank Executive Vice President for Branch Banking Cora A. Mallillin.
BDO understands that while digital banking provides convenience and accessibility, physical banking is more personalized, which is difficult to replicate digitally. Talking to a real person at a bank branch is valuable in building trust between the Bank and its clients. BDO combines the warmth of human interaction with the benefits of digital technology through phygital banking.
Tech-enhanced physical banking
For the Bank, one way to go phygital is to allow for tech-enhanced branch transactions.
Through BDO’s Branch Online Booking portal, clients can schedule an appointment online before visiting a branch. Upon registration, clients receive a QR code that will be scanned upon their arrival at the branch for automatic queuing.
BDO also provides account opening and self-service stations inside bank branches, which enable clients to input their transaction details before talking to a branch employee. This eliminates the need for manual form filling and allows bank personnel to focus more on building relationships with clients, instead of heavily doing the paperwork.
The Bank’s network of ATMs has also been equipped with QR and biometric technology that allows for cardless money withdrawal.
“Our phygital strategy enhance physical experiences by making it more secure and convenient. We employ digital banking tools not to replace physical banking, but to enhance face-to-face encounters within our branches,” said Mallillin.
Banking that fits one’s lifestyle
BDO offers a variety of banking and payment methods to suit the preferences of its clients, whether they prefer conventional or digital channels. These include branches, ATMs, mobile apps, websites, agency banking, and payment channels.
For clients who prefer to bank and make payments digitally, they can do so through the Bank’s website or using an online banking app. By logging in, clients can pay bills, transfer money, manage their savings, credit card, loan, investment accounts, and more.
For those who prefer traditional banking methods or are frequently on the go, BDO continues to expand its network of branches, agency banking, and ATMs nationwide, ensuring that banking services remain accessible to Filipinos, particularly in the countryside.
“BDO’s brand of phygital banking allows our customers to mix and match the way they bank with us. For instance, they can apply for a loan through our bank branch and settle it by paying online. This just illustrates how BDO’s phygital banking makes financial transactions more flexible and convenient,” said Mallillin.
BDO’s initiative to promote phygital banking is in line with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap, which seeks to advance financial inclusion through digital payments and banking. With phygital banking, BDO wants to encourage more Filipinos to conduct formal financial transactions by providing them with banking options that suit their particular needs.