ASEAN cross-border payments in the works

Elijah Felice Rosales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Cross-border payments among the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore through BancNet may soon be possible under the interbank network’s plan to expand its reach.

According to BancNet president Fabian Dee, the operator connecting ATMs nationwide has sat down with the Philippine Payments Management Inc. (PPMI) and InstaPay Automated Clearing House (ACH) to explore how they can facilitate cross-border payments among the economies of Southeast Asia.

“BancNet is collaborating closely with PPMI, ACH and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to enable cross-border payments among the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore,” Dee said.

Dee said BancNet would provide the mechanism with an anti-fraud tool called Trace and Alert. Users will then be warned whenever criminals are attempting to launder money from their accounts.

BancNet plans to improve its infrastructure moving forward to capture the widening demand for financial services during the pandemic. Further, the interbank network expects increased activity from users as the economy starts to recover from the pandemic.

Government economists project that Philippine economic output, as measured by gross domestic product, may improve by seven percent to eight percent in 2022 and by six percent to seven percent in 2023, 2024 and 2025.

Transactions processed by BancNet rose by 22 percent to 1.07 billion last year from 880.12 million in 2020.

The volume includes InstaPay transactions numbering to 429.14 million and amounting to P2.53 billion, a year on year increase from 218.3 million and P1.14 billion, respectively.

Based on records, BancNet posted the highest single day volume of transactions on December 15, 2021, when close to five million interbank procedures were recorded. Also, the operator logged an average switch availability rate of 100 percent for InstaPay and 99.96 percent for ATMs.

“BancNet is in a superior position as we prepare for the gradual exit from the pandemic and the consequent recovery of the economy, increased consumption and higher demand for services. In particular, we have embraced the use of technology in both our internal business operations, as well as our development and delivery of services to members and participants,” Dee said.

Last week BancNet shareholders reelected Nestor Tan of BDO Unibank Inc. as chairman of the board and Dee of Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. as president of the consortium.

BancNet has a total of 123 members and affiliates with a domestic network of 22,721 ATMs and 413,896 POS terminals serving a card base of 93.86 million.


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