By Melissa Luz T. Lopez, Senior Reporter
THE CENTRAL BANK is eyeing to link the Philippines’ InstaPay platform to other digital clearing houses within Southeast Asia to facilitate real-time fund transfers across borders.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. said he is looking to connect the automated clearing house for real-time payments with its counterparts in neighboring countries for improved connectivity and efficiency.
“The more interesting prospect, potentially, is to link up the instant payment networks regionally,” Mr. Espenilla said when asked about long-term plans for InstaPay.
Last week, industry players unveiled the InstaPay platform which will process electronic payments across accounts from different banks and digital wallets.
InstaPay clears electronic fund transfers worth up to P50,000 per transaction and without a daily limit. The platform is available 24/7, with the funds to be made available to receivers almost immediately.
Seven banks are offering real-time fund transfers as of April 23, while 11 other lenders and two electronic money issuers are able to receive payments, according to the central bank.
Clients of InstaPay participants maintaining savings, current or e-money accounts can use the platform to send or receive cash via cash transfer instructions made through online or mobile app channels.
InstaPay is expected to be more high-impact in terms of processing money transfers as it is expected to give a substantial boost for e-commerce. Mr. Espenilla said this platform under the National Retail Payment System is in keeping with the goal of raising the share of e-payments to at least 20% of total transactions by 2020, coming from a measly one percent recorded in 2013.
“This (InstaPay) is basically very young but as it matures it could possible to interface with other countries,” the BSP chief added.
The Philippines is the third in the region to set up an e-payments platform. In November, the Monetary Authority of Singapore announced that it is working to link their PayNow platform with Thailand’s PromptPay system to allow people from either country to send money to each other using mobile phone numbers.
Mr. Espenilla said joining these two nations for a regional network is “very doable” with InstaPay now live. The move could likewise boost efforts for regional integration.
The BSP is currently in talks with the Bank of Thailand for cross-border banking agreements. Once signed, qualified banks from one jurisdiction may operate in the other, subject to the regulations of the host economy.
Looking ahead, Mr. Espenilla said the central bank is also exploring the use of QR codes for retail payments as they look to shift the Philippines away from cash-heavy transactions.