By Melissa Luz T. Lopez, September 13 2018; Business World

Image Credit to BWorldOnline

ALL BANKS and other financial firms should be offering online fund transfer services by end-November, as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) flexes its muscle for more players to broaden their digital presence.

The central bank through Memorandum No. M-2018-026 required all banks and other supervised industry players to have electronic banking and interbank transfers in place by Nov. 30.

These services should be mounted on the InstaPay and the Philippine Electronic Fund Transfer System and Operations Network (PESONet) clearing houses which the BSP rolled out earlier this year.

Under the National Retail Payment System (NRPS), the BSP targets to shift cash-heavy transactions to digital avenues — which, in turn, should help broaden access to financial services and spur increased economic activity.

The order signed by BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier specifically mandates all BSP-supervised financial institutions (BSFIs) offering electronic banking via Internet and mobile to get onboard the automated clearing houses which process online payments.

All firms must report to the BSP’s Payment System Oversight Department within 10 banking days after their services via PESONet and InstaPay are live for clients’ use. Getting aboard has been made mandatory for players.

“BSFIs are reminded that non-compliance with the deadline stated in this Memorandum shall subject the BSFI to applicable sanction/s and other enforcement action/s that may be imposed by the BSP as provided in Circular No. 980,” the Sept. 4 memorandum reads.

Banks should also specify in the fund transfer confirmation messages given to senders on whether the money was moved using PESONet or InstaPay “to set proper expectation on the availability of funds” to beneficiaries.

InstaPay processes real-time transfers worth P50,000 or lower, with the money credited to receivers after a few seconds. Meanwhile, PESONet collates transfer instructions and are processed in batches and are made available by the end of the banking day.

The industry-led Philippine Payments Management, Inc. (PPMI) “shall monitor and lead” member banks and e-money issuers to comply with the NRPS framework, the central bank added.

Of the 74 PPMI member institutions, 58 banks and financial firms are currently offering the PESONet service while 48 are aboard the InstaPay as of end-July, according to industry data. The PPMI previously set an Oct. 1 deadline for all banks to accommodate real-time sending and receiving of money via InstaPay.

The BSP wants to lift the share of digital payments to 20% of total transactions from a measly 1% recorded in 2013, with the country still cash-reliant at present.

In another development, the BSP has also approved licenses for two new virtual currency exchanges called ZyBi Tech, Inc. and Fyntegrate, Inc. also known as the Philippine Digital Asset Exchange. — Melissa Luz T. Lopez