Tuesday, June 18, 2024

BSP issues standards in resolving issues for online fund transfers

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has approved the issuance of a circular on Consumer Redress Mechanism Standards for Account-to-Account Electronic Fund Transfers (fund transfers).

The circular primarily focuses on the timely resolution of customer concerns relating to fund transfers as this can build trust and confidence on the use of digital payments, the BSP said.

It sets out industry-wide expectations on participating banks and electronic money issuers (EMIs) of the InstaPay and PesoNet Automated Clearing Houses (ACH), and clearing switch operators (CSO), such as BancNet and the Philippine Clearing House Corporation.

With this new regulatory issuance, the originating financial institution (OFI) shall notify the sender regarding the accurate status of fund transfers. Periodic notification shall also be provided until resolution of the concern involving the fund transfer.

Meanwhile, the receiving financial institution shall inform the beneficiary upon successful crediting of funds to the beneficiary account.

In the notification message, all ACH participants shall adopt a common language that will enable customers to determine the actual status of the fund transfer.

The circular also covers the required turnaround time for the OFI to return the funds to the sender’s account for fund transfers not received by the beneficiary.

For instant retail payments and corresponding use cases such as InstaPay, the funds must be returned to the sender’s account within one hour from receipt of the customer’s payment instruction.

For batch clearing like PesoNet, the funds must be returned to the sender’s account within two hours from receipt of clearing advice from the CSO.

These periods are significantly shorter than the current response time of most participants which usually takes around two to three banking days. The return of funds to the sender shall include the fees collected by the OFI.

Meanwhile, to ensure prompt notification to end-users, the circular requires ACH participants and the CSOs to define in their ACH operating guidelines the necessary actions from each party involved. This requirement covers both scheduled and unscheduled disruptions.

The policy likewise reiterates the need for the participants to adhere to BSP Circular No. 1160 (Financial Consumer Protection), specifically on the availability of 24×7 customer support assistance and on matters concerning erroneous and unauthorized transactions.

The circular allows a transitory period to give ACH participants and CSOs time to make necessary preparations to ensure strict compliance with all the requirements by Jan. 1, 2025.

As of April 30, there are 86 InstaPay participants, while PesoNet has 112 participants, consisting of digital banks, universal banks, commercial banks, thrift banks, rural banks, and non-bank EMIs.

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