• Melo Acuna

COVID-19 and ECQ shift regular banking transactions to E-payments

BSP recommends shift to E-payments due to quarantine

MANILA – Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin E. Diokno today said Filipinos should seriously consider using e-payments with the Luzon-wide, enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to minimize face-to-face transactions and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We can do our part in stopping the spread of COVID-19 by staying home,” Governor Diokno said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. He called on Filipinos to “use e-payment services” including PESONet and InstaPay when purchasing essentials including food and medicines, money transfers to accounts of nearest of kin and when settling utility bills and other obligations.

He added fees for these services have been waived by authorized financial institutions during the EQC period.

InstaPay allows an account holder to transfer funds up to P50,000 per day, immediately credited to a recipient account in any participating financial institution. InstaPay has been designed for urgent and small value transactions.

Meanwhile, PesoNet was designed for high value transactions of companies, other business, government agencies and individuals. It is the electronic alternative for transferring funds via checks. Money transfers under PesoNet have no transaction limit per day. Crediting to the recipient account is on the same banking day, provided that a sender transfers money within the cut-off time set by financial institutions.

The BSP statement said as of March 31,2020, InstaPay is offered by 45 financial institutions while PESONet is offered by 56 financial institutions as ke services for their account holders. These services provide convenient, safe, and secure alternatives to face-to-face cash or check transactions. They can be used by individuals for person-to-person money transfers, remittances, bill payments, or payments to merchant accounts for purchases of goods and services. Companies and other businesses can also benefit from these services when accepting client payments, and when paying their suppliers, creditors and employees’ salaries.

The BSP said subject to appropriate institutional arrangements, government agencies may leverage or InstaPay and PESONet to facilitate person-to-government transactions including tax payments, or government-to-person transactions such as the distribution of monetary benefits under the Social Amelioration Program of the Bayanihan: We Heal as One Act.

The BSP has been aggressively e=payments. It issued BSP Circular No. 980 in 2017 providing the policy framework for the establishment of a National Retail payment System (NRPS). PESONet and InstaPay were among the priority automated clearing houses established under the NRPS. The number of e-payment transactions in the country grew from 1% in 2013 to 10% in 2018. The value of these e-payments also rose from 8% to 20% over the same period, the BSP statement concluded. (Melo M. Acuña)

Bangkok Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin E. Diokno (File Photo/Melo M. Acuna)

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