THE PESONet Steering Committee is targeting to increase settlements that can be done in a day and even on holidays and weekends by next year as more Filipinos shift to online payments.

“By Q1 or Q2, we will have two settlements per day, including holidays and weekends. This means beneficiaries can receive their funds earlier within the day, and even on non-banking days,” PESONet Steering Committee Head John Cary L. Ong said in a text message.

Aside from looking into increasing allowed settlements per day, Mr. Ong said they are exploring first-level account validation for PESONet that will allow the system to reject erroneous account number formats immediately.

“This means the senders can be notified immediately and their funds returned to them much faster, and will also greatly help the receiving banks as they will have less transactions to process and return,” he said.

PESONet is the electronic fund transfer service under the National Retail Payment System of the central bank which enables batch fund transfers for bigger amounts. The service allows fund transfers to be credited to the receiver by the end of the banking date.

Its retail counterpart, InstaPay, facilitates real-time fund transfer for amounts less than 50,000.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno has said the combined transactions of PESONet and InstaPay surged by 122% in terms of volume and by 59% in value in the second quarter. This, as more people opted for online transactions amid restrictions due to the pandemic.

The central bank wants 50% of transactions done digitally by 2023.

Mr. Ong, who is also Security Bank Corp.’s Transaction Banking Group and Channel Network Group Head, said PESONet was built for large volumes of transactions, enabling it to accommodate consumers’ shift to online payments.

“The challenge was really on the receiving banks which suddenly received a deluge of transactions,” he said.

“We are working closely with the banks that receive large volumes of inward transfers, to ensure that they credit the beneficiaries and provide status feedback in a timely manner,” Mr. Ong added.

E-payments in the country comprised 10% of total transactions in 2018 from a mere 1% in 2013, according to a United Nations-based Better than Cash Alliance report.

In terms of value, digital transactions made up 20% of the total in 2018 from just 8% in 2013. — LWTN