Payments body adopts national QR code
Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - November 12, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA,Philippines — The country’s payment system management body has approved the adoption of a national quick response (QR) code standard that could further accelerate the country’s ongoing shift to a cash-lite economy.

BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier said through Circular Letter No. 2019-080 that the Philippine Payments Management Inc. (PPMI) has notified the regulator about the adoption of the EMV QR Code as the national QR code for payment and financial services.

With the approval, payment service providers are required to adopt the national QR code standard within 30 days from the date of said notification. 

However, the BSP has given banks and financial institutions until end June next year to comply due to the huge number of providers offering QR-enabled payment services.

The QR technology has emerged as the most convenient and cost efficient means of moving funds from one account to another. A QR code contains most if not all of the critical information such as account name and account number that are required to be specified in a payment instruction.

Hence, the use of interoperable QR codes has been gaining traction as an alternative to the traditional debit and credit cards. It is faster and easier to just scan the code than to dip or swipe a card, and sign a charge slip.

The adoption of a QR code standard on a national scale is expected to bring more Filipinos as well as micro and small enterprises onboard the financial system. 

The merchants simply need to print out the code on a piece of paper and display the code for their clients to scan using a smartphone. This operational requirement entails much lower cost than investing in electronic data capture equipment like point-of-sale terminals that are usually needed for card-based payment transactions.

In addition, payment service providers are required to give utmost priority to the safety of the payers and the payees to build public trust in the QR technology.              

The adoption of a national standard is another collaborative initiative between the BSP and the PPMI under the National Retail Payment System (NRPS) launched in December 2015 to raise the level of cashless transactions to about 20 percent by 2020 from the previous one percent.

With this initiative, the central bank is optimistic that all Filipinos including those at the bottom of the social pyramid can enjoy the benefits of a safe, efficient, and inclusive retail payment system.

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