MANILA - - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) launched on Wednesday the Philippine Electronic Fund Transfer and Operations Network (PESONet) to increase the number of electronic payments in the country.

In his speech during the PESONet launch at the BSP office in Manila, BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. said the Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) system will be a big help for the businesses, the government and individuals because it provides electronic payment system.
“It will enable e-commerce and lower cost of doing business,” he said, citing that this is “liberating and truly-empowering.”

He said that, for one, this e-payments system will allow individuals and business to easily pay their taxes and other fees intended for the Department of Finance (DOF), Bureau of the Treasury (BTr), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DITC), and Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

“While this is already being partially implemented we see wider government participation...It will lead to more efficient budget utilization,” he said.

The central bank chief said a study has shown that 98 percent of Filipinos can be included in the formal banking system with the help of electronic channels.

He admitted that most consumers will have a hard time accepting e-payment as mode of payment because they are not used to it, thus, he asked bank officials to have stronger effort to address this problem.

To date, 33 banks  and Non-bank Electronic Money issuers in the country have signed up to be part of PESONet, the first automated clearing house under the National Retail Payment System (NRPS) program spearheaded by the central bank.

Among the banks that are already part of the system are Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Island (BPI), state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Sy-led Banco de Oro Unibank Inc. (BDO), Bank of Commerce, China Bank Savings, Eastwest Banking Corporation (EastWest Bank), Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company, and Union Bank of the Philippines.

In a briefing, Union Bank SVP and head of PESONet Technical Working Group (TWG) John Ong said transactions using this system will have minimal fee at around the same level as interbank withdrawal fees, which is around PHP12 to PHP16 per transaction.

“The idea is to make it cheap and competitive,” he said, noting also that the BSP will not dictate pricing on the service fee “so it’s an open market.”

Ong said consumers will still have the last decision on which banks to choose.

He added that transaction fee will only be collected from the senders’ side so remitters. (PNA)