New clear­ing house live by 2018

Business World - - BANKING & FINANCE - By Melissa Luz T. Lopez Se­nior Re­porter

A SEC­OND dig­i­tal clear­ing house meant to process real-time money trans­fers is eyed to go live by early 2018, cen­tral bank of­fi­cials said, which is ex­pected to push more Filipinos to use on­line chan­nels for pay­ment trans­ac­tions.

Bangko Sen­tral ng Pilip­inas (BSP) Gov­er­nor Nestor A. Espe­nilla, Jr. said the In­staPay plat­form • which will process fund trans­fers across banks and e-wal­lets in real time — is be­ing tar­geted for roll­out some­time within the “first quar­ter of next year.”

This would be the sec­ond au­to­mated clear­ing house that would cater to in­ter­bank fund trans­fers done through elec­tronic fund trans­fers (EFT) which was rolled out last week.

A group of 33 banks and fi­nan­cial tech­nol­ogy ser­vice providers have signed up for the Philip­pine EFT Sys­tem and Oper­a­tions Net­work (PESONet), which will serve as an in­dus­try- run clear­ing house that will con­duct daily batch pro­cess­ing for on­line fund trans­fer or­ders from one ac­count to an­other.

The PESONet will ac­cept dig­i­tal pay­ment in­struc­tions which are pro­cessed through a cen­tral server hosted by the Philip­pine Clear­ing House Corp. This sys­tem is even­tu­ally seen to re­place pa­per- based checks, which cur­rently takes one business day to com­plete a fund trans­fer.

On the other hand, the In­staPay will al­low the im­me­di­ate trans­fer of money across bank ac­counts and elec­tronic wal­lets, pro­vided that the trans­ac­tions are worth less than P50,000.

The two clear­ing houses were ini­tially eyed in place dur­ing the third quar­ter of 2017, but it took a while for fi­nan­cial firms to pin down in­ter- op­er­abil­ity agree­ments.

BSP Deputy Gov­er­nor Chuchi G. Fonacier said separately that fi­nan­cial play­ers are still dis­cussing the need for a guar­an­tee fund which will be used for the ex­press clear­ing.

“There will be a fund that will be ready to clear the trans­ac­tions any­time, so a bank must have it ready,” Ms. Fonacier told re­porters.

She added that in­dus­try play­ers are also study­ing trans­ac­tion fees to be im­posed for in­ter­bank trans­fers and re­mit­tance charges.

Dur­ing the Business and In­vest­ment Sum­mit of the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions on Mon­day, Mr. Espe­nilla said the cen­tral bank has been em­brac­ing dig­i­tal plat­forms for a more ef­fi­cient fi­nan­cial sys­tem, cit­ing the need for in­dus­try play­ers to

em­brace co­op­er­a­tion while re­main­ing com­pet­i­tive.

Elec­tronic money trans­ac­tions in the Philip­pines to­talled P1.1 tril­lion last year, mark­ing an all- time high as more fi­nan­cial firms of­fered the dig­i­tal ser­vices to con­sumers.

The BSP has for­mally adopted the National Re­tail Pay­ment Sys­tem frame­work, with the goal of rais­ing the share of dig­i­tal pay­ments to 20% of to­tal trans­ac­tions by 2020 from a 1% share in 2013.

The faster de­ploy­ment and ac­cess to money is seen to spur in­creased eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity, the cen­tral bank said.

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