Lyka needs BSP license 'to keep things in order,' BSP's Diokno says

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 09 2021 11:43 AM

Central Bank Governor Benjamin Diokno holds newly minted set of 20-piso and Enhanced 5-piso NGC coins at the Executive Business Center at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, (BSP) in Manila on December 17, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File
Central Bank Governor Benjamin Diokno holds newly minted set of 20-piso and Enhanced 5-piso NGC coins at the Executive Business Center at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, (BSP) in Manila on December 17, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno said Monday it urged Lyka to get a payment operator license "to keep things in order."

The central bank earlier ordered Lyka, backed by a Hong Kong-based company, to suspend its operation as an Operator of Payment System (OPS) and to register under the National Payment Systems Act.

Lyka allows users to purchase, exchange and use gift cards in electronic mode or GEMS as payment for goods and services. 

The suspension order for Lyka is "not reflective of the whole digitalization effort and performance of the Philippine economy," Diokno told ANC.

"It’s one of the things that we sighted because it continues to operate without a license and they need the imprimatur of the central bank to keep things in order," Diokno told ANC. 

The BSP earlier said consumers should engage with licensed payments operators which are listed on its database.

The BSP is pushing for digitalization under the National Retail Payment System (NRPS), which also includes electronic money transfers InstPay or instant transfer, and PESONet or for transactions above P50,000.

However, the BSP remains cautious when it comes to cryptocurrencies since virtual money is "volatile," Diokno said. 

"The thinking of central banks in the world is that it’s not a good way of managing monetary policy in the sense that it’s volatile," he said.

The BSP's digitalization goals include digitizing at least 50 percent of transactions and encouraging at least 70 percent of the population to open a bank account by 2023.

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