After Singapore, BSP eyes cross-border payment pact with Malaysia, Thailand

Warren De Guzman, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 12 2021 05:08 PM

MANILA— The Philippine central bank is looking to make it easier for Filipinos to transact with businesses and individuals across the ASEAN region through a region-wide payment network, it said Friday.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas earlier signed a deal with the Monetary Authority of Singapore to start discussions on how to regulate and facilitate cross-border payments between Singaporeans and Filipinos. 

The BSP noted Singapore is a key trading partner and major source of remittances and that pursuing seamless e-payments is seen to benefit overseas Filipinos and local export, import and tourism businesses. 

In a forum, BSP Director Raymond Estioko said there is nothing formal yet but the discussions should lead to a concrete agreement on how the two countries can facilitate, as well as regulate, cross border payment solutions so that individuals in either country can take advantage of digital payment solutions with minimum cost and maximum convenience. 

Estioko said a lot of work still needs to be done with Singapore, but the BSP is also already in talks with other ASEAN nations to push for the creation of an ASEAN Payment Network.

“There is constant communication with our ASEAN neighbors to enter with cross border agreements with them. Singapore was just the first because of our strong economic relationship with them. We have bilateral and multilateral experience with them which we can learn from," Estioko said.

The BSP has already identified which country will be next in terms of bilateral agreements. 

Gauging from the economic activity, "it is either Malaysia or Thailand," the official said.

While cross-border payment such as the cooperation with Singapore may seem straightforward to consumers, especially those who already transact with international vendors and individuals through online banking and e-commerce platforms, there is a lot to be considered when it comes to regulation, the BSP said.

The BSP and the MAS have to iron out how to handle disputes when transactions go wrong. 

Data privacy, identity verification, payment settlements, foreign exchange and other digital banking services should also be discussed, the central bank said.


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