Payment firms are heeding the call of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for financial inclusion in the country. The Philippine Payments Management Inc. (PPMI) under the guidance of BSP recently launched the Government e-Payments (EGov Pay) Facility and the pilot of the first use case aligned with the National QR Code Standard (QRPh).
After the pilot run with the Bureau of Internal Revenue in August, EGov Pay is now made fully available to the public as one of the payment options which is hoped to “streamline digitalization of government collections and disbursements.”
The objectives of digitalizing payments in the government are “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’s) Link.Biz Portal. It will then direct the taxpayers to the Philippine Clearing House Corporation’s (PCHC’s) 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 the full launch of the EGov Pay Facility, more government agencies are expected to leverage the efficiencies of e-payments by participating as billers thereby allowing more Filipinos to experience the secure, fast, and convenient way of electronically paying the government.
As of launch date, the following government agencies have been on-boarded in the EGov Pay Facility:
- Department of Trade and Industry
- 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. Nos. 3-9
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 one of the easiest modes of payment because it entails the scanning of the code using a mobile device, which many of the Filipinos have.
The BSP required all PSPs to adopt the national QR code standard developed by the PPMI, as provided in BSP Circular No. 1055, in order to transform the fragmented QR-driven payment services into interoperable payment solutions. This move will eliminate the need for the merchants and customers to maintain several accounts and for the merchants to display numerous QRs.
The EGov Pay and the pilot of P2P payments using the QR Ph 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.
“The QR is primarily intended to enable micro-merchants to accept electronic payments,” said Bangko Sentral Governor Benjamin Diokno said. “We hope that through the help of our industry partners, we can not only achieve our goal of a cash-lite economy but also enable more Filipinos to reap the benefits of a growing economy.”