BSP pursues adoption of national QR code standard for payments

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has approved a policy requiring the adoption of a National Quick Response (QR) Code Standard for payments.

The standard, the BSP said, is necessary for ensuring interoperability of QR-enabled payment and financial services. The central bank said QR technology has emerged as the most convenient and cost-efficient means of moving funds from one account to another.

“Hence, the use of interoperable QR Codes has been gaining traction as an alternative to the traditional debit and credit cards,” it noted.

A QR code contains most, if not all, of the critical information such as account name and account number which are required to be specified in a payment instruction. “As such, the use of this code minimizes encoding errors. Moreover, it is faster and easier to just scan the code than to dip or swipe a card, and sign a charge slip,” the BSP said.

The BSP said the adoption of a QR Code Standard on a national scale is expected to bring more Filipinos as well as micro and small enterprises onboard the financial system.

The merchants simply need to print out the code on a piece of paper and display the code for their clients to scan using a smartphone. This operational requirement entails much lower cost than investing in electronic data capture equipment like point-of-sale terminals which are usually needed for card-based payment transactions.

The newly-approved policy prescribing a National QR Code Standard provides that the country’s Payment System Management Body — the Philippine Payments Management Inc. (PPMI) — determine the National QR Code Standard in coordination with key stakeholders particularly the payment service providers (PSPs), both banks and non-banks.

To ensure that the country’s QR-enabled payment and financial services are interoperable not only on domestic but also on a wider regional or global scope, the policy requires that the National QR Code standard be aligned with the international standard.

The adoption of the National QR Code Standard is a collaborative initiative between the BSP and the PPMI under the National Retail Payment System (NRPS) regulatory framework. With this initiative, the BSP is optimistic that all Filipinos including those at the bottom of the social pyramid can enjoy the benefits of a safe, efficient, and inclusive retail payment system.

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