Overseas Filipino Bank, 3 others vying to be digital banks: BSP

Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 29 2021 05:19 PM

MANILA - Four banks, including a state-run firm, are currently applying for digital banking licenses, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Thursday, as digital transactions continue to grow in the country. 

"To date we have received 4 applications, 2 from new players, 2 from incumbent banks applying to convert their existing license to a digital banking license. Under the latter category, you have the Overseas Filipino or OF Bank. This is actually a subsidiary of Landbank," said BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno.

The BSP chief said he expects existing banks that are converting their licenses to digital banking to start operations as early as this year, while the new players will likely start operations by 2022.

Diokno said digital banking and online transactions have continued to grow after already skyrocketing in usage last year. 

“In March this year, the combined volume and value of PESONet and InstaPay fund transfers reached 39 million (transactions) and P552.3 billion, respectively. Volume increased by 369 percent, and value by 184 percent, compared to figures posted in March 2020, or a year since the pandemic’s outbreak,” Diokno said. 

The growth in digital transactions will accelerate with the launch of additional initiatives such as the National QR Code Standard, Diokno added. 

"The National QR Code Standard or QR Ph has transformed the fragmented QR- driven payment services into interoperable payment solutions." 

Diokno said QR Ph can be used as a viable alternative to coins as it caters to low-value, high-volume transactions such as payments to merchants and person-to-person payments. 

The BSP said the use of QR Ph will soon be expanded with the pilot launch of Person-to-Merchant (P2M) payments on Friday.

After the pilot run, QR Ph will be rolled out by the third quarter of this year.

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