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Central bank to launch new clearing house for gov’t

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Chuchi Fonacier
File photo of BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier during the Asia Microfinance Forum 2014 — Photo by Asia Microfinance Forum

By Melissa Luz T. Lopez, Senior Reporter

THE CENTRAL BANK is looking to launch a new clearing house that will allow digital payments for government services, as part of a stronger push for online transactions.

Called the “PhPay,” BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier said they are looking to roll out the third automated clearing house that will process payments for government services and even the state’s fund releases to individuals.

However, Ms. Fonacier said they are waiting for the Department of Finance (DoF) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue to set up a platform for e-invoicing, which would provide electronic receipts to users of the payment portal.

“We need electronic invoicing because once you pay, people are not comfortable if they don’t have a receipt,” the BSP official added, noting that trace numbers are usually not enough for customers.

The DoF originally started work for the PhPay clearing house under the Integrated Government Philippines program, which would also serve as the centralized online payment portal, transactions ledger and reconciliation system for e-payments to state agencies. This platform is expected to improve the ease of doing business in the country, as payments for permits and licenses can also be coursed here.




However, Ms. Fonacier said its full rollout depends on finalizing the rules for e-invoicing.

The central bank last year revealed plans to set up a new clearing house specifically for bills payment, which will include government services.

Once rolled out, the PhPay will follow the Philippine Electronic Fund Transfer System and Operations Network — a platform which compiles all interbank fund transfer instructions, runs a batch process, and credits the amount to the receiver by the end of the banking day.

Meanwhile, InstaPay processes real-time transfers worth P50,000 or lower, with the money sent to the destination account in a matter of seconds or minutes.

These clearing houses were opened in line with the BSP’s goal to raise the share of e-payments to 20% of all transactions in the Philippines by 2020, coming from a measly 1% share back in 2013.

The late BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. previously said that he is specifically targeting to shift government payments onto digital platforms, which include the payout of worker salaries, tax collections, and even loan proceeds from state agencies.

The use of e-payments and online transactions is expected to fast-track access to money, and will therefore boost economic activity as funds are made available quickly.