DigiCOOP delivers cybersecurity lessons as it ramps up shift to digital transactions in rural areas 

TEAMS OF DigiCOOP, the digital platform of the biggest financial cooperative in Mindanao, has started teaching members about cybersecurity alongside the push to shift more transactions online.   

Ana Cuisia, chairman of Taxion Cooperative that provides the DigiCOOP platform to the First Community Credit Cooperative, Inc. (FICCO), said they have found out that scammers have been on the prey for people in rural areas.  

“The team soon realized that transitioning non-digital platform users to the digital space needs to go beyond merely acclimatizing them to the functionalities of an app or a browser-based platform. On the ground, we have heard horror stories about cooperative store owners who unknowingly (or knowingly but with no malicious intent) shared their computer passwords or their own user credentials with outside parties,” she said in a statement.   

The 67-year old FICCO, which has over 400,000 members mostly in Mindanao, launched the DigiCOOP for members in July. It is targeting to have at least 75% or 300,000 of members switch to digital services by the end of the year.  

Ms. Cuisia said they have been conducting orientation and trainings to cooperatives in the countryside, which now include a session on cyber security.  

“Technology and education are the great equalizers of opportunities,” she said.  

DigiCOOP, which can be used through a mobile application or an internet browser, can be used by FICCO members for financial services such as bills payment, loan availment, money transfer, and online purchase.  

Alongside the digital shift, FICCO is also launching 10 digiCOOP Business Centers in Mindanao this year to expand membership. 

Ms. Cuisia said in an email interview that the physical stores will complement the digital platform in terms of attracting more clients who may or may not be able to go online.   

“DigiCOOP would like to cater to the most underserved which may not have access to smartphones or internet connection, and that’s why we have made the services offline too, through the digiCOOP business centers,” she said. — MSJ