Under the guidance of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), local payment industry players launched last Wednesday, Nov. 20, another initiative under the National Retail Payment System (NRPS) — the Government e-Payments (EGov Pay) facility and the pilot of the first use-case aligned with the National QR Code Standard (QR PH).
After a pilot run with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) last August 15, the EGov Pay facility is now fully launched as a payment solution that enables a streamlined digitalization of government collections and disbursements.
The pilot implementation of the EGov Pay Facility was initially offered for BIR’s tax collections so taxpayers can simply initiate payments through Landbank’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 on the efficiencies of e-payments by participating as billers thereby allowing more Filipinos to experience fast and convenient way of electronically paying the government.
As of launch date, the following government agencies have been onboarded 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 will complete onboarding on or before 20 November 2019)
The event also marked the pilot launch of the first payment use case developed by the payment industry that is aligned with the QR PH.
Six pilot participants demonstrated how to transfer funds by scanning the QR code. The funds are transferred through InstaPay, the real-time low value ACH formed under the NRPS.
Payment firms that participated in the demonstration were likewise InstaPay participating institutions:
- Asia United Bank (AUB),
- China Banking Corporation (CBC),
- Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), Paymaya, and
- Union Bank of the Philippines (UBP)
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 essentially entails code scanning which is faster and easier to do than bringing out a card, tapping, dipping or swiping it, and signing a charge slip in most cases.
The BSP thus required all payment firms to adopt the national QR code standard developed by the Philippine Payments Management, Inc. (PPMI), as provided in BSP Circular No. 1055, in order to transform the fragmented QR-driven payment services into interoperable payment solutions, thereby eliminating 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 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.
“The QR is primarily intended to enable micro-merchants to accept electronic payments,” BSP governor Benjamin E. 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.”