BSP okays adopting national-scale QR code

    THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has adopted a policy requiring the adoption of a National Quick Response (QR) Code Standard for payments.

    In a statement on Thursday, the Central Bank announced that the monetary board approved the adoption of a QR code on a national scale, to ensure interoperability of QR-enabled payment and financial services.

    The newly approved policy prescribing a National QR Code Standard provides that the country’s Payment System Management Body—the Philippine Payments Management Inc. (PPMI)—must determine the National QR Code Standard in coordination with key stakeholders, particularly the payment service providers (PSPs), both banks and nonbanks.

    Also, to ensure that the country’s QR-enabled payment and financial services are interoperable not only on the domestic but also on a wider regional or global scope, the policy requires that the National QR Code Standard be aligned with the international standard.

    The BSP said the QR technology has emerged as the most convenient and cost-efficient means of moving funds from one account to another; and the use of interoperable QR Codes has been gaining traction as an alternative to the traditional debit and credit cards.

    “A QR code contains most, if not all, of the critical information, such as account name and account number, which are required to be specified in a payment instruction.  As such, the use of this code minimizes encoding errors. Moreover, it is faster and easier to just scan the code than to dip or swipe a card, and sign a charge slip,” the BSP said.

    For the adoption of a QR Code standard on a national scale, the BSP’s aim is to include the micro and small enterprises onboard the financial system.

    “The merchants simply need to print out the code on a piece of paper and display the code for their clients to scan using a smartphone. This operational requirement entails much lower cost than investing in electronic data capture equipment like point-of-sale terminals which are usually needed for card-based payment transactions,” the BSP said.

    The newly approved policy will also require payment service providers to have the necessary measures to manage the threats and vulnerabilities associated with this technology. They are also required to establish an “appropriate pricing mechanism” for QR-enabled payment and financial services to encourage their clients to use these services.

    For a smooth implementation of the standard, the policy sets out a period within which the PPMI shall inform the BSP of the Standard
    approved by the PPMI Board.

    The PSPs shall then adopt the Standard within 30 calendar days from the date of said notification.

    “Nevertheless, considering that a number of PSPs have been offering QR-enabled payment services, the policy allows these PSPs to fully comply with the Standard up to June 30, 2020,” the BSP said.

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    Bianca Cuaresma graduated cum laude from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) with a degree in AB Journalism. She joined the BusinessMirror after she graduated in 2013. In October 22018, she was named Banking Reporter of the Year by the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines (EJAP).

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