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Covid has boosted use of quick response (QR) code e-payments

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MANILA – Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno is optimistic that the central bank’s bid to further increase electronic payment transactions in the country despite the internet connectivity issue can be boosted by a payment system using the quick response (QR) code.




During the virtual launch of the QR PH P2M program on Tuesday, Diokno said the QR PH for person-to-merchant (P2M) uses QR codes for financial transactions.


“To receive payments merchants only need to print QR codes, which the respective payments service provider will generate for them, display those codes, and obtain payments by simply asking their customers to scan the code without necessarily getting connected to the internet. Confirmation of successful payments transactions may also be received by both the merchants and the customers,” he said during the briefing streamed through the central bank’s Facebook page. 


Electronic payments, which got a boost when the government-imposed movement restrictions since the start of the pandemic, are expected to increase further using QR code for payments. 


Diokno said they are hopeful about further increase of digital financial transactions as more people now have smart phones and access to the internet. 


Citing data from market research firm Statista, he said around two-thirds of the population or around 73.9 million Filipinos have access to the internet through mobile devices. 


“This suggests that, in general, more Filipino consumers and merchants nowadays have the means to use digital payment facilities to send and receive payments, including those made through QR-enabled instruments,” he said.


The QR PH program was first launched in November 2019 for the QR PH person-to-person payment or QR PH P2P, which catered to remittances and payments within the information sector. 


It initially had six pilot participants but now has twenty-three participants. 


The pilot of QR PH P2M started in April 2021. 


Diokno said QR PH transactions rose by more than forty-five times since the second quarter of 2020, or an average quarterly growth rate of 110 percent for volume and 229 percent in value. 


To date, there are nine financial institutions and electronic wallet (e-wallet) service providers that have teamed up with the BSP for the QR PH P2P program.


These institutions are the AllBank, Asian United Bank (AUB), Cebuana Lhuillier Rural Bank, China Banking Corporation (Chinabank), Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank), Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), StarPay, Union Bank of the Philippines (Unionbank), and USSC Money Services Inc. 


Account holders of these institutions can now make QR payments using their bank’s mobile app, to merchants who have accounts with AllBank, AUB, BDO Unibank Inc., Cebuana Lhuillier Rural Bank, Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company (Metrobank), PayMaya, RCBC, StarPay, Unionbank, and USSC Money Services Inc. 


QR PH P2M uses InstaPay, one of the two electronic payments facilities under the central bank’s National Retail Payment System (NRPS), for its transactions. 


Diokno said they expect the number of QR PH P2M participants to increase in the coming days, adding that using the QR code is cheaper than using a point-of-sales (POS) terminal. 


“QR Ph empowers consumers by giving them the freedom to choose their digital payment service through the interoperability feature of QR Ph payments, and this is aligned with the United Nations’ principles on the responsible use of digital payment,” he added. (PNA)


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