By Lee C. Chipongian
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has approved the circular for the implementation of the National Retail Payment System (NRPS) to pave the way for a “safe, efficient and reliable” electronic payment environment in the country.
The Monetary Board, BSP’s policy-deciding arm, released Circular No. 980 or the “Adoption of NFRS Framework” last Monday. The circular emphasized the critical need for enabling policies and a multifaceted approach to ensuring stronger risk management, among others.
All BSP-supervised financial institutions or BSFIs are expected to follow the framework and measures to establish the following: Strengthened risk management through a holistic, and multi-stakegolder approach to governance, enhanced transparency of clearing and settlement trasnactions according to risk profile; augmented efficiencies and effectiveness in the retail payment system by minimizing duplicative efforts, promoting interoperability, standardizing clearing and settlement rules and harmonizing initiatives; and continued compliance with BSP rules and regulations on information technology, consumer protection and anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism.
The NRPS covers all retail payment-related activities, mechanisms, institutions and users, according to the central bank. This includes all peso-denominated domestic payments.
The issuance of the circular is in time for the launch of one of the automated clearing house (ACH) for the interoperability side of the NRPS implementation, as well as standardizing clearing and settlement.
The ACH PESO Net is launched today, it is a batch electronic fund transfer (EFT) credit ACH. BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla Jr., who signed the circular last Monday, said the central bank has been working closely with the banking sector on the formation of two priority ACHs such as PESO Net and InstaPay.
The NRPS via the two ACHs expands financial consumers’ payment options through electronic payments. It is considered the gateway for the unbanked and underserved financial consumers in the Philippines.
The central bank expects banks and non-banks to tap one or both ACHs. The difference is that PESO Net facilitates fund transfer from one account or payer to one or several accounts and are not time-critical. InstaPay, on the other hand, as a real-time electronic fund transfer system.