The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Philippine Payments Management, Inc. (PPMI) announced that PESONet, the country’s first Automated Clearing House (ACH) under the National Retail Payments System (NRPS), is now available and accessible in more than 40 banks nationwide.
This is a welcome development toward the country’s objective towards greater financial inclusion through an efficient electronic payment system that provides consumers and businesses more affordable and convenient payment services.
The NRPS is the landmark program of the BSP to create an efficient, safe, reliable and interoperable electronic payments system in the Philippines. It was launched by the BSP in 2015. In 2017, the payments industry signed the charter creating the country’s payment system management body. This body was later incorporated into the Philippine Payments Management Inc. or PPMI. The PPMI is the industry-led self-governing body recognized by the BSP to help implement and oversee the NRPS principles.
As of end-July 2018, around 58 financial institutions have already signed up with PESONet, with 43 of them already receiving PESONet transactions. For wider usage, 22 institutions have made PESONet available in both their online and mobile phone channels.
With PESONet, financial institutions such as universal, commercial and thrift banks and soon, non-bank electronic money issuers (EMIs), can provide individuals and businesses with a platform where they can conveniently, safely, speedily and affordably pay or transfer funds to recipients with accounts in other financial institutions. Being digital in nature, transactions can be done anywhere, using any electronic device such as desktops, laptops, tablets or mobile phones. And the best part with PESONet is beneficiaries receive payments on the same day and with no fees nor deductions.
A digital platform like PESONet offers individuals and businesses a variety of benefits. The Better Than Cash Alliance, in their study “The Future of Supply Chains: Why Companies Are Digitizing Payments,” said that through digital payments, real benefits are accrued “not just for companies but also their employees, suppliers, distributors, and the communities they work in.” These benefits include improved efficiency, increased revenue, greater transparency and security, plus stronger business relationships. Individuals, on the other hand, will have greater access to more financial services.
Lazada Philippines, the country’s leading online shopping and selling destination, is one of the early adopters of PESONet. The company followed developments in PESONet after the NRPS initiative was announced, and first tested it in December 2017. Jonathan Bates, Vice President for Finance of Lazada Philippines, said they started using PESONet in January 2018 for compliant banks that tested it successfully.
“We decided to use PESONet because it’s more efficient than checks or existing bank-to-bank methods, beneficiaries are not charged any transaction fees and more importantly, we wanted to help advance PESONet usage in the country by being an early adopter. That way, we can give feedback directly to the BSP,” Bates explained.
For its part, BTI Payments, a wholly owned subsidiary of Banktech, a leading ATM and payments technology in Australia that partnered with local billers such as utility, telecommunications firms and banks, is a PESONet user since June 2018 via Union Bank of the Philippines for same day crediting of payor remittances to their enrolled billers.Dan Ibarra, Managing Director of BTI Payments, said they chose to use PESONet because bank charges are more affordable since they use it twice a day for settlement of transactions. “Aside from the lower bank charges, we found it to be more secure and safe to use since we use it for our clients nationwide.”
“Our goal with the introduction of NRPS and PESONet is to enable both businesses and consumers to make payments and transfer funds electronically from one account to any other account using any digital device. This interoperable payment system is going to be a platform for financial technology (fintech) innovations,” says BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla, Jr. of this development.
“This development regarding PESONet shows that many financial institutions have already realized its benefits not just to them but for their customers as well. In the future, we hope to see more financial institutions and their customers make PESONet their default platform for their batch or bulk payment needs,” according to PPMI Chairman Justo A. Ortiz.
PESONet financial institutions who have made enabled services available on their online channels include ANZ Bank, Bank of America, Bank of China, Citibank, CTBC Bank, Deutsche Bank, Development Bank of the Philippines, Eastwest Bank, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Maybank, MUFG Bank, Ltd, Mizuho Bank, PNB, PSBank, Robinsons Bank, Shinhan Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, UCPB, Unionbank and Yuanta Savings Bank , among others.
Another ACH launched this year is “InstaPay,” under the NRPS. “Instapay” handle low-value funds transfers in real time on a 24/7 basis through the internet or mobile banking channels of participating financial institutions. InstaPay transactions are limited to P50,000 per transaction but with no limit on the number of transactions, and received without deductions just like PESONet.