BSP to deploy more digital payment tools

Lawrence Agcaoili - The Philippine Star
BSP to deploy more digital payment tools
BSP Deputy Governor Mamerto Tangonan said they are working closely with the payments industry to offer consumers and businesses the tools to seize opportunities in the digital economy.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is deploying more digital payment tools as it ramps up initiatives to achieve its twin goals under its Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap.

BSP Deputy Governor Mamerto Tangonan said they are working closely with the payments industry to offer consumers and businesses the tools to seize opportunities in the digital economy.

“Through strategic collaborative efforts with our industry partners, we can expand access to digital payment tools that are truly responsive to businesses’ needs in the new economy,” Tangonan said during a forum held recently.

Tangonan said upcoming digital payment initiatives include the request to pay facility and direct debit facility.

According to the BSP official, the request to pay facility would empower payees to initiate collections by simply sending a request to pay, while the direct debit facility would enable customers to more efficiently manage recurring payments, such as monthly rentals, loan amortization, and insurance premiums.

Tangonan said the central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot project, dubbed Project Agila,  aims to enhance the BSP’s capacity to implement CBDC by enabling fund transfers between select financial institutions, addressing national payment challenges, and exploring 24/7 transaction capabilities.

Furthermore, he added that the linkage and enhancement of cross-border payments would also boost the competitiveness of Philippine e-commerce, exports, and the international trade sector.

“These initiatives support the BSP’s financial digitalization agenda, consistent with the overarching goal of inclusive economic growth,” he said.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) continues to ramp up cross-border payments as more central banks join the regional payment connectivity initiative.

Central banks in the region, including the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Bank Indonesia, Bank Negara Malaysia, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Bank of Thailand and the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) have signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cooperation in regional payment connectivity.

The initiative was established to strengthen and enhance collaboration on payment connectivity through the development for faster, cheaper, more transparent, and more inclusive cross-border payments.

The cooperation encompasses several modalities, including QR (quick response) code and fast-payment based cross-border payments.

The goal of the regional payment connectivity is to make inter-country payments more seamless, convenient, and affordable, allowing individuals and businesses to conduct transactions across the ASEAN region with ease.

Through cross-border payments, ASEAN member states would be able to increase trade and remittances within the region, helping widen financial inclusion and significantly contribute to the overall advancement of the ASEAN economic community.

Under its Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap, the BSP aims to shift 50 percent of total retail transactions to electronic channels and increase the number of Filipino adults with bank accounts to 70 percent before the end of this year.

As more Filipinos embraced digitalization during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the share of digital payments to total retail transactions further increased to 42.1 percent in 2022 from 30.3 percent in 2021.

Likewise, the number of banked Filipino adults further increased to 65 percent in 2022 after almost doubling to 56 percent in 2021 from 29 percent in 2019.

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