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New Study Finds Businesses’ Shift to Digital During COVID-19 Could Be Permanent

Economist Intelligence Unit report for TransUnion highlights which emerging technologies could present challenges for and increase fraud prevention, economic inclusion and consumer privacy

Manila, Philippines, October 28, 2020 With the Philippines remaining under varying degrees of quarantine due to COVID-19, a new Economist Intelligence Unit study for TransUnion finds businesses’ shift to digital could be permanent.

“COVID-19 has dramatically accelerated digital transformation with 78% of Philippine executives surveyed as part of our study saying their organization has changed their digital transaction process due to the pandemic,” said Pia Arellano, TransUnion Philippines president and CEO. “But all of this digital progress will be wiped out if we can’t remove these barriers to building bilateral digital trust. For instance, 70% of Philippine executives in the study who said their company changed their digital transaction process as a result of the pandemic experienced glitches.”

In addition to the above findings, nearly 84% of Philippine and 85% of global executives surveyed as part of the study said they believe smooth transactions are “essential to business survival” rather than merely a competitive edge during and after the pandemic.

The report, “New Dimensions of Change: Building Trust in a Digital Consumer Landscape,” included responses from 1,610 executives in Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, India, the Philippines, South Africa, the U.K. and the U.S, including 115 Philippine executives. The research uncovered how technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), national digital IDs1 and super-apps2 can help overcome hurdles and possibly create new challenges to building digital trust.

New Technologies vs. Fraud

Overwhelmingly respondents answered that: 1) biometrics3 will be the dominant payment customer authentication method; 2) improved fraud detection and security is the greatest benefit to using AI; and 3) a national digital ID system will help prevent consumer fraud.

Approximately 92% of Philippine and 85% of global executives say biometrics are likely to be used to authenticate the vast majority of payments in the next 10 years. About 46% of Philippine and 43% of global respondents noted that improved fraud detection and security is the greatest benefit to using AI. This was the top selection by far with smoother customer experience being the second most used answer globally at 29% worldwide and 23% in the Philippines.

Furthermore, the vast majority of executives, 84% in the Philippines and 79% globally, think national digital IDs will help fraud prevention in consumer transactions. Seven in 10 executives globally and 77% in the Philippines believe a national digital ID gives low-income groups access to consumer services they would have previously been excluded from. By industry worldwide, respondents from consumer lending and telecommunications think such IDs give lower-income groups access to services they might otherwise lack. Both industries have led the way over the last decade in reaching the community of financially underserved customers, manifested in innovations like microfinance and mobile money. The Philippine Statistics Authority says it will begin registering Filipinos for the Philippine national digital ID, “Phil ID,” in the 4th quarter of 2020.

“Ensuring consumer trust starts with preventing fraud. Our research overwhelmingly showed that biometrics, AI and national digital IDs aren’t just a fad for consumer fraud prevention. They are key for trusted commerce for the foreseeable future,” said Arellano.

Entrusting Personal Data

About 82% of Philippine and 73% of global executives believe consumers are comfortable sharing personal data with private companies. Nearly 71% of worldwide and 79% of Philippine executives believe consumers are comfortable sharing personal data with governments. Brazilian, Chinese and Dominican Republican executives have vastly differing views about whether or not consumers are willing to share data with private companies versus government bodies (more than 10% difference in each country between sharing with governments and companies). Chinese respondents believe consumers are much more comfortable sharing personal data with government bodies than companies, while Brazilian and Dominican Republican executives have the opposite belief.

“Technological innovations like AI, biometrics and national digital IDs paired with proven fraud prevention methods like device intelligence can provide a more convenient and inclusive way for consumers to transact that still protects security and privacy,” Arellano concluded.

For the survey findings and registration information for a Dec. 3 webinar about the study, go to the

TransUnion Philippines report website.

1National digital ID initiatives are government-administered programs to provide a digital identity to residents, often using biometric data to authenticate identity.

2Super-apps are single digital portals, predominantly accessed via smartphones, through which customers access and pay for third-party products and services.

3Biometrics are defined as fingerprint, facial recognition or voice authentication methods.


About TransUnion

TransUnion is a global information and insights company that makes trust possible in the modern economy. We do this by providing a comprehensive picture of each person so they can be reliably and safely represented in the marketplace. As a result, businesses and consumers can transact with confidence and achieve great things. We call this Information for Good.® TransUnion provides solutions that help create economic opportunity, great experiences and personal empowerment for hundreds of millions of people in more than 30 countries. In the Philippines, we are a major credit reporting agency and offer a number of specialist services in acquisition, portfolio review, and management; fraud, identity, and risk management; and collections. We support organizations across a wide variety of sectors including finance, retail, telecommunications, and insurance.

About The Economist Intelligence Unit

The EIU is the thought leadership, research and analysis division of The Economist Group and the world leader in global business intelligence for executives and professionals. We uncover novel and forward-looking perspectives with access to more than 750 analysts, experts and in-country contributors that produce best-in-class intelligence for over 200 countries and regions. More information can be found on Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.