Gov’t wants more clearing houses for digital deals
Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - October 24, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is rushing the launch of more automated clearing houses (ACHs) particularly on government transactions as it aims to increase the level of cashless transactions to 20 percent by 2020 from the current level of about one percent.

Vicente de Villa III, officer-in-charge of the central bank’s financial technology sub-sector (FTSS), said there is a need to launch more ACHs to meet the target of the National Retail Payment System (NRPS) to establish a safe, efficient, affordable, and reliable e-payments system.

The BSP and NRPS stakeholders launched the Philippine EFT system and operations network (PESONet) in November last year to facilitate batch electronic fund transfer from one account to one or several accounts maintained in different financial institutions, while InstaPay that allows 24/7 low value electronic fund transfers below P50,000 was launched last April.

“We have two existing ACHs right now. To meet this 2020 target would involve the creation of other ACHs to facilitate other types of payment schemes, particularly including government payments into the picture,” De Villa said

BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. has directed proponents of the NRPS to put government transactions on board as part of efforts to encourage people and businesses to conduct their financial transactions digitally.

Banks through the Philippines Payments Management Inc. (PPMI) act as the payment system management body and help the BSP in monitoring proper implementation and progress of NRPS.

“This would probably involve the coordination and collaboration of PPMI to be able to review and actually push forward the creation of a bills payment ACH,” De Villa added.

Other programs in the pipeline include payment schemes such as a national quick response (QR) code standard.

“Some of this has already been initiated by our partners here, I’m referring to a QR code system which would also have to be engaged or facilitated through the help of the PPMI, as the gateway and strategy trailblazers,” De Villa said.

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