BSP sets June 30 deadline for full adoption of QR Ph

THE BANGKO SENTRAL ng Pilipinas (BSP) gave banks and financial institutions until June 30 to fully adopt the national quick response (QR) code standard, also known as QR Ph, in a bid to accelerate digitalization.  

In a memorandum signed by BSP Deputy Governor Mamerto E. Tangonan on Feb. 23, the central bank said all BSP-supervised financial institutions (BSFIs) and payment service providers (PSP) are required to fully adopt QR Ph.

“All PSPs deploying non-QR Ph codes, which is also referred to as proprietary QR codes, for payment services shall be allowed to transition to the QR Ph until 30 June 2023,” the BSP said.

“Beginning 01 July 2023, all proprietary QR codes for payments services shall be disabled and shall no longer be available to the public,” it added.   

QR Ph is the country’s QR code standard, which gives customers of banks and nonbank electronic money issuers a quick and secure way to pay, as well as transfer and receive funds.

The BSP said payment service providers on the receiving end should disable any transactions via non-QR Ph codes. Appropriate notification should be used to inform payors of an unsuccessful transfer. 

Meanwhile, internet platforms and mobile apps of PSPs will no longer support scanning of non-QR Ph codes. 

The BSP said this in line with its mandate to ensure safe, efficient, and reliable operations of payment systems in the country, pursuant to Republic Act (RA) No. 11127 or the National Payment Systems Act.   

In 2019, the BSP and the Philippine Payments Management, Inc. (PPMI) launched the QR Ph, which is used for digital person-to-person (P2P) transfers and person-to-merchant (P2M) payments through the InstaPay rail.

“All PSPs deploying QR Ph-enabled payment services to merchants or businesses shall require such merchants or businesses to display and utilize the QR Ph codes in their payment acceptance,” the BSP said.

PSPs were also required to provide product training for their client merchants, specifically the features and benefits of QR Ph. This is to ensure that store cashiers and managers will be able to guide customers on the use of the national standard code and enable clients to maximize its benefits, the BSP said.   

All participating PSPs in the InstaPay rail were also required to submit a notarized certification of deployment of QR-enabled payment services. They are required to submit the certification to the BSP not later than 30 days from the date of the memorandum.   

The BSP said it may take regulatory action to ensure compliance of BSFIs and PSPs. If any certificates submitted to the BSP were found untrue, the firm concerned may face sanctions.

As of end-January, there were 36 and 18 financial institutions participating in the P2P and P2M facilities, respectively. 

Latest data from the central bank showed the value of transactions done through InstaPay grew by 37.3% year on year to P347.96 billion as of end-January.

In 2022, the volume of InstaPay transactions jumped by 27.7% to 51.55 million from 40.37 million in 2022.

InstaPay is a real-time, low-value electronic fund transfer facility for transactions up to P50,000 and is most useful for remittances and e-commerce. It is one of the automated clearing houses launched in December 2015 under the central bank’s National Retail Payment System, together with PESONet.   

The central bank has been encouraging the use of QR technology as a convenient and safe payment solution, as it aims to turn half of the volume and value of payments into digital form this year.

The BSP launched a Paleng-QR program in key cities around the country to help public market vendors accept cashless payments using the QR Ph. — Keisha B. Ta-asan