TRANSACTIONS made through InstaPay and PESONet continued to grow as of end-July from a year earlier as strong economic activity boosted payments, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed.

The combined value of transactions done through the BSP’s automated clearing houses InstaPay and PESONet rose by 30.7% to P7.02 trillion as of July from P5.37 trillion in the same period last year.

In terms of volume, transactions made via the clearing houses grew by 37% to 477 million as of end-July from 348 million in the comparable year-ago period.

“The sustained strong year-on-year growth in InstaPay and PESONet transactions may reflect increased business and economic activities,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said.

The accelerated adoption of digital fund transfers as a good alternative to check payments also contributed to the double-digit growth in InstaPay and PESONet transactions, Mr. Ricafort said.

Increasing online transactions and e-commerce also led to greater demand for digital payments, he said.

Broken down, the value of PESONet transactions increased by 25.1% to P4.33 trillion as of end-July from P3.46 trillion a year prior.

The volume of transactions that went through the payment gateway stood at 52.43 million, 9.2% higher than the 47.99 million seen as of July 2022.

Meanwhile, the value of transactions done through InstaPay surged by 40.8% year on year to P2.69 trillion as of July from P1.91 trillion a year prior.

The volume of InstaPay transactions grew by 41.6% to 425.07 million from 300.18 million at end-July 2022.

“Continued double-digit growth for InstaPay and PESONet transactions could still continue for the coming months amid continued recovery of many businesses/industries,” Mr. Ricafort added.

PESONet and InstaPay are automated clearing houses launched under the BSP’s National Retail Payment System (NRPS) that was rolled out in December 2015 to promote a safe, efficient, affordable, inclusive and reliable retail payment system.

Operated by the Philippine Clearing House Corp. (PCHC), PESONet enables high-value transactions and is considered as an electronic alternative to the paper-based check system and recurring payments.

Meanwhile, InstaPay is a real-time, low-value electronic fund transfer facility for transactions up to P50,000 and is handled by BancNet, Inc.

Earlier this month, PCHC and BancNet announced that their proposed merger has been approved by their respective shareholders, with 86.67% of BancNet shares being voted in favor of the merger and 78.57% of PCHC shares being voted in favor of the merger.

“The merger of BancNet and PCHC will create a stronger, more resilient organization that will be better able to provide safe, reliable, and efficient payment services for the benefit of consumers. This will be achieved through the consolidation of their financial technology, talent, and other resources,” BancNet earlier said.

The proposed merger was initiated by the Bankers Association of the Philippines and now awaits approval from the BSP, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Philippine Competition Commission.

Under its Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap, the BSP wants 50% of total retail transactions done online and to bring 70% of Filipino adults into the financial system by the end of this year.

The share of digital payments in total retail transactions increased to 42.1% in 2022 from 30.3% in 2021.

The BSP’s NRPS promotes the interoperability of the payment system to enable consumers to transfer funds from one account to another, even if the second account is with another financial institution. — K.B. Ta-asan