December 5, 2023

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has urged the public to embrace the shift in the way they transact business brought about by the government’s push for the broader adoption of digital payment schemes.
BSP officials said with proper knowledge and vigilance, the digital payment system is safe, more convenient, and a more efficient way of transacting business, whether one is buying goods or availing of services or is engaged in an enterprise.
BSP Payments Policy and Development Department Bank Officer V Maureen Franco said digital payment is safe as long as one is mindful and vigilant of the scams perpetuated by unscrupulous individuals.
“Let us not be afraid of digital payment because it is safe. We just have to be mindful and vigilant of the scams and protect our accounts the way we protect our physical wallet to avoid falling victims to fraud,” Franco said.
She encouraged those who have reservations on digital payment to create their accounts and start sending small amounts to their family members or friends for them to appreciate its benefits.
BSP North Luzon Director Noel Malimban said the agency is advocating the adoption of digital payment because it has become the norm of the current times.
Malimban said BSP’s digital payment initiatives are not devoid of challenges, but he assured the BSP continues to conduct financial literacy and teach the public on the safe use of digital payment.   
“Digital payment is the present. It is more convenient and faster. We have to learn how to use it the safe way. Let us not be left behind,” Malimban said.
Franco said the BSP is advocating the use of digital payments in line with the government’s desire to transform the country into a cash lite economy.
“Doing so will generate economic gains through cost savings from the handling, processing, and transportation of cash and checks. A typical medium to large business drawing 1,000 checks per month to suppliers could save them 25 percent to 46 percent of invoice handling cost, depending on whether half or more of these payments are shifted to digital,” she said.
From their savings, Franco added businesses will have extra funds which they can put into more productive use like buying more supplies or expand their business.
Digital payment also encourages increase in economic activity because of the faster time suppliers will receive money, compared to check payments where they have to wait for days for the checks to be cleared.
Franco added the improved transparency in digital payments can also help curb fraud and other corrupt practices because the money received and sent for every transaction is recorded and easily monitored.
Among the digital payment facilities are PesoNet, a batch electronic fund transfer, which is intended for planned and non-urgent transactions and alternative for checks. It is however, not available on weekends and holidays.
The transactions for PesoNet include government payment and collections, supplier payments, payroll, and loan dividend payouts.
EGovPay is another digital payment facility that allows individuals and businesses to pay taxes, fees, permits, and other obligations to the government through Landbank’s LinkBiz portal.
InstaPay is a real-time low value fund transfer, which is available 24/7.
A fund transfer intended for immediate transactions and is an alternative for cash. It can be used for domestic remittance transfer, e-commerce, bills payment, and other low value payments.
Another digital payment platform is QR Ph enables Filipinos to transfer funds by simply scanning a QR code through mobile phones.
BillsPay Ph meanwhile allows consumers to settle their bills even if they don’t have an account with the payment service provider of their billers.
To avoid being victimized by scammers, BSP Regional Economic Affairs staff Marian Patosa reiterated BSP’s check, protect, and report principle.
She said the public must be wary of text messages and emails that are urgent and come with links.
Patosa also advised the public to not give their personal information when people call or text them and ask for their personal information.
“Legitimate financial institutions do not ask you to give your names and number and one-time password (OTP) if they are the ones calling you,” she said.
While the government is pushing for a broader adoption of digital payment, the public must understand that ensuring safe online financial transactions is a shared responsibility. – Jane B. Cadalig