Bangko Sentral eyes offline digital payments to boost financial inclusion in off-grid areas

Robie de Guzman   •   November 30, 2021   •   420

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Tuesday said it is eyeing offline digital payment solutions to enable transactions without the need for internet connection.

In a statement, the BSP said this is part of an effort to boost financial inclusion in off-grid areas.

While an effective and reliable internet connectivity is a necessary condition for digital finance to flourish, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said the central bank is also pursuing digital solutions to enable ‘offline payments.’

The BSP said it is working on this initiative under the Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap (DPTR), which aims to convert 50 percent of the volume of retail payments into digital form.

The initiative also aims to onboard 70 percent of Filipino adults to the formal financial system by 2023.

The BSP earlier reported it has achieved its target of reaching 20 percent of digital payments volume by 2020. The increase was largely driven by high-frequency, low-value retail transactions through electronic fund transfers.

BSP reminds public to always check banknotes dispensed by ATMs

Robie de Guzman   •   January 25, 2022

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Tuesday reminded the public to regularly inspect the banknotes they receive to ensure their authenticity.

In an advisory, the BSP said the public should check the banknotes, even those dispensed by automated teller machines (ATM), through the “feel, look, tilt” approach to protect oneself against counterfeiting.

“Should a banknote dispensed by an ATM be suspected as a counterfeit, the holder is advised to immediately report it to the bank that owns the machine,” the central bank said.

“The bank will then conduct a thorough investigation to verify whether the banknote was indeed dispensed by the bank’s ATM,” it added.

If the holder’s claim is verified, the BSP said the bank should replace the banknote in question.

The BSP likewise assured the public that banks employ adequate risk management measures to deter such incidents.

“Aside from the installation of cameras at ATM areas, cash handlers and service providers tasked to refill ATMs are trained to detect counterfeit banknotes or verify their genuineness before placing them in ATMs,” the central bank said.

Under BSP Circular No. 829, Series of 2014, banks are required to submit suspicious banknotes to the BSP for further examination, the BSP said.

BSP launches PESONet multi-batch settlement

Robie de Guzman   •   January 24, 2022

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), with the Philippine Payments Management Inc. on Monday said it has launched Multiple Batch Settlement (MBS) facility of the PESONet electronic fund transfer service.

The BSP said the MBS facility, which went live on Monday morning, increases PESONet’s daily batch settlement to two cycles on a banking day.

PESONet used to have only one batch settlement of fund transfers at the end of the banking day, it added.

“This new feature enhances the user experience as it allows faster crediting of funds to the recipient’s account. PESONet MBS allows for better risk management for participating banks and electronic money issuers as settlement of transactions may be divided within two cycles in a banking day,” said BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno in a statement.

The morning and end of day settlement cycles of PESONet fund transfers also seek to address the demand of the business community for shorter clearing intervals, the central bank said.

“With PESONet MBS, businesses can manage their cashflows better. For example, a business can ensure timely crediting of payroll funds since PESONet MBS allows the transfer of funds and the receipt of the same by employees within the same banking day,” Diokno said.

“Since funds are made available earlier, PESONet MBS can cut production cycle time that boosts economic productivity,” he added.

With more frequent settlement cycles under PESONet MBS, person-to-government payments made via EGov Pay will also be improved.

EGov Pay is an online facility that allows citizens to pay taxes and other fees due to government institutions, including permits and fees.

“A growing volume of pension, social security benefits, and government aid have been disbursed digitally through PESONet. In 2021, the value of SSS disbursements coursed through PESONet reached P158.47 billion and there is room for further growth with the launch of these digital initiatives,” Diokno said.

Launched in November 2017, PESONet is the first automated clearing house under the National Retail Payment System, and can be considered as an electronic alternative to paper-based check payments, the BSP said.


Bangko Sentral warns public vs printing of images of PH banknotes

Robie de Guzman   •   January 12, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Wednesday reminded the public that printing images bearing the likeness of Philippine banknotes is prohibited and may result in legal action.

The BSP issued the reminder after the National Bureau of Investigation, together with the BSP Payments and Currency Investigation Group (PCIG), arrested an individual suspected of selling money or cash envelopes using the image and design of the 1000-Piso New Generation Currency banknote.

Pursuant to BSP Circular No. 829, Series of 2014, the central bank said that the act of reproducing the image of any legal tender Philippine currency banknotes, or any part of one, whether in black and white, in color, or combination of colors, without authority or approval from the BSP, is subject to imprisonment of five to 10 years.

“The public may be allowed to reproduce images of Philippine banknotes if authorization or approval from the BSP has been secured for educational, historical, numismatic, newsworthy, or other relevant purposes that will maintain, promote, or enhance the integrity and dignity of the Philippine currency,” it said.

The public may request approval from the BSP to print or reproduce images of Philippine banknotes through the PCIG at email address, it added.


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