Filipinos are becoming increasingly comfortable with using so-called QR or “quick reaction” codes when paying for purchases or making money transfers from one person to another—a sign that the “cash heavy” local economy is well on its way to “cash light” one.
In particular, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno pointed to the latest data showing the rapid growth in the use of the newly launched unified QR Ph system, which is a key pillar of the regulator’s digitalization push.
“I am happy to report that the volume and value of QR Ph person-to-person payments in February this year also increased by 22 percent and 26 percent respectively, compared to the figure posted a month earlier,” he said in a speech during the groundbreaking ceremony for the UnionBank Innovation Campus on Wednesday. Last month, the BSP and the payment services industry launched the QR Ph person-to-merchant digital payment stream that is expected to bring broad and wide-ranging benefits to both consumers and businesses.
This system will provide users with a convenient and safe alternative to traditional payment methods that use cash and coins.
Diokno said BSP had noted a steady rise in digital transactions in the country since the pandemic begun.
“Combined transactions by electronic fund transfer facilities PESONet and InstaPay were higher by 348 percent in volume and 170 percent in value in February 2021 respectively, compared to figures recorded during the same month in 2020,” he added.
PESONet and InstaPay are automated clearinghouses under the central bank’s National Retail Payments System. PESONet is a batch electronic fund transfer platform which is an electronic alternative to the paper-based check system. On the other hand, InstaPay is a real-time, low value electronic fund transfer platform for transactions up to P50,000 which is useful for e-commerce. Meanwhile, QR Ph is the national standard that leverages on the efficiency, safety and affordability of the QR technology. It entails code scanning and benefits consumers with faster, easier and cheaper payment options with greater convenience.
The central bank chief noted that social mobility restrictions amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have emerged to be a strong catalyst for the wider use of digital payments in the country.
Because of this, the BSP continues to engage the payment services industry for the provision of safe and efficient payment services.