THE SECURITIES and Exchange Commission (SEC) will accept only online payments and payments made to Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) branches starting February next year, as it continues with its “zero face-to-face transaction policy.”

In a notice, the SEC said all payments starting Feb. 1, 2023 will only be accepted through the Electronic System for Payments to the SEC (eSPAYSEC) at https://espaysec.sec.gov.ph/payment-portal/home or at any branch of LANDBANK.

The regulator said it will close the cashier’s office located at the SEC headquarters in Makati City and all SEC extension offices by end-January. These offices will accept over-the-counter (OTC) transactions until Jan. 31, 2023.

“The shift to online and offsite payments furthers our unwavering commitment to ensuring the transparent and efficient management of our funds,” SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino said in a statement.

With the shift, transaction fees and any other amounts collected in through eSPAYSEC and LANDBANK will directly be deposited to and reflected in the SEC’s accounts, Mr. Aquino said.

The move is also in line with the zero-contact policy and automation of business-related transactions mandated by Republic Act (RA) No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018. The law aims to establish efficient service delivery, prevent graft and corruption, reduce red tape and expedite transactions in the government.

In March 2021, the SEC launched eSPAYSEC, a web-based system that allows for the payment of fees and penalties to the SEC online using cashless payment options.

Clients who intend to pay will need to enter the reference number provided in the payment assessment form issued by the SEC, select their payment option and provide the required information.

“Once the payment goes through, the system will generate an electronic official receipt, which clients will likewise receive through e-mail,” the regulator said.

The eSPAYSEC can accept payments from debit and credit cards powered by Visa, Mastercard and JCB, as well as digital wallets such as GCash and Maya. However, a “minimal” convenience fee will be collected.

“This also complements the transacting public’s pivot to cashless transactions, and the National Government’s push for the digital transformation of public services to improve ease of doing business in the Philippines, as in the case of the SEC,” Mr. Aquino said.

Recently, the SEC signed a memorandum of agreement with LANDBANK which will allow payments for SEC-related transactions to be made through its Online Collection (OnColl) facility in all 609 branches nationwide.

The signed deal expanded the SEC’s previous partnership with LANDBANK which only covered payments for SEC-related transactions in selected branches.

Around 2,000 SEC-related transactions, such as applications for company registration, processed through LANDBANK’s OnColl facility every month.

The SEC and LANDBANK are also looking to expand contactless payment options for SEC-related transactions through the use of the bank’s web-based payment channel link. — Justine Irish D. Tabile