By Keisha B. Ta-asan, July 31, 2023; Business World

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has collected coins worth P12 million through its coin deposit machines (CoDMs) a month after their rollout in select retail establishments in Manila.

BSP Deputy Governor Bernadette Romulo-Puyat told reporters on the sidelines of the central bank’s annual reception for the banking community on Friday that members of the public have been using the coin deposit machines.

“We’ve only deployed 10 machines in one month, but we were able to collect P12 million worth of deposits and about six million pieces of coins,” she said in mixed English and Filipino, adding that the highest value the BSP got from just one depositor was P50,000.

She said six CoDMs were only deployed in the last two weeks, while the first four machines launched by the BSP were popular among the public, resulting in long lines.

The BSP began deploying CoDM units in June in partnership with Filinvest Lifemalls Corp., Robinsons Supermarket Corp., and SM Retail, Inc.

The most popular units so far are those located in the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City, in Robinsons Place Ermita in Manila, and in Festival Mall in Muntinlupa City, Ms. Romulo-Puyat said.

The central bank is looking to deploy more machines in those locations to cater to the high demand, she added.

The value of coins deposited in CoDMs may be credited to the depositor’s e-wallet account or converted into a shopping voucher for over-the-counter transactions.

All denominations of the BSP Coin Series and New Generation Currency Coins Series are accepted by the CoDM. Unfit and demonetized coins, foreign currency, and foreign objects are rejected by the machine and returned to the depositor.

The central bank is looking to improve the circulation of coins in the country through the coin deposit machines, Mr. Romulo-Puyat said.

As of now, customers depositing coins can only credit the equivalent amount to their GCash e-wallets. The BSP is looking to include other electronic money issuers, such as Maya, in the project’s next implementation phases.

She added that 98% of deposits were credited to clients’ e-wallets while the rest were converted to shopping vouchers.

Pasig City Mayor Victor Ma. Regis “Vico” N. Sotto has reached out to the BSP as he also wants to have CoDMs in Pasig City, Ms. Romulo-Puyat noted.

A total of 25 machines will be deployed across the greater Manila area until August. The rollout of the machines in select retail establishments of the SM Store, Robinsons Supermarket, and Festival Mall is part of the first phase of the project’s implementation.

The BSP will determine if the project will be expanded to other regions and if the number of machines will be increased a year after the launch.