Under the guidance of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), another set of milestone initiatives under the National Retail Payment System (NRPS) have been launched by the payment industry participants.
As reported, these initiatives are the Government e-Payments (EGov Pay) Facility and the pilot of the first use case aligned with the National QR Code Standard (QR Ph).
EGov Pay Facility
The EGov Pay facility is now fully launched to the public following a successful pilot run with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) last August 2019.
It is a payment solution that enables a streamlined digitalisation of government collections and disbursements.
By digitalising payments to the government, it is able to curb revenue leaks through efficient collection means, better audit trail, and enhanced transparency.
On the disbursement side, digital payment services help the government to promptly deliver social services through the quick and safe means of disbursement or paying out of funds to concerned stakeholders.
The pilot implementation of the EGov Pay Facility was initially offered for BIR’s tax collections so that taxpayers can simply initiate payments through the Land Bank of the Philippines’ (LBP) Link.Biz Portal.
It will then direct the taxpayers to the Philippine Clearing House Corporation’s (PCHC) PayGate platform, which allows taxpayers to choose the payment service provider (PSP), from which funds will be transferred to the government via the PESONet, the batch electronic fund transfer (EFT) facility and the first automated clearing house (ACH) formed under the NRPS.
With its full launch, more government agencies are expected to leverage the efficiencies of e-payments by participating as billers.
This will allow more Filipinos to experience the secure, fast, and convenient way of electronically paying the government.
Several government agencies are already on-board the EGov Pay facility as of launch date. These are:
- Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)
- City Government of General Santos
- City Government of Manila
- City Government of Valenzuela
- City Government of San Pedro, Laguna
- Local Government Unit of Baler
- Philippine National Police
- Quezon City Government
- The event also celebrated the pilot launch of the first payment use case developed by the payment industry that is aligned with QR Ph.
- Six (6) pilot participants demonstrated how secure and easy transfer of funds is by scanning the QR code.
- The funds are transferred through InstaPay, the real-time low-value ACH formed under the NRPS.
- The use of QR codes for payments has been gaining traction as an alternative to the traditional debit and credit card payments.
- The QR technology has emerged as the most expedient means of payment since it only entails code scanning, which is faster and easier than bringing out a card, tapping, dipping or swiping it, and signing a charge slip, in most cases.
- Consumers likewise benefit from having faster, easier and cheaper payment options with greater convenience.
- Thus, the central bank required all PSPs to adopt the national QR code standard as provided in BSP Circular No. 1055, in order to transform the fragmented QR-driven payment services into interoperable payment solutions.
- It will eliminate the need for the merchants and customers to maintain several accounts and for the merchants to display numerous QRs.
BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno explained that the QR is primarily intended to enable micro-merchants to accept electronic payments.
Strategic Roadmap to a Cash-lite Economy
Both initiatives are only among the first set of initiatives that the BSP and the payments industry are working on to support the roadmap of shifting from a cash-heavy to a cash-light Philippine economy.
This emanates from the recognition that digital payments are the gateway to financial inclusion.