A standardized quick reaction—or QR— code system in the local financial system will help accelerate the Philippines’ transition to a more “cash light” economy where payments between merchants and customers will be faster, safer and more efficient.
Thus said the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) which recently reached a milestone in the country’s digital transformation journey with the full rollout of the QR PH person-to-merchant (P2M) payment facility, together with the Philippine Payments Management Inc.
“Digitalizing merchant payments through QR Ph P2M is expected to have a far-reaching positive impact as it empowers small economic actors like micro, small and medium enterprises to realize greater opportunities for growth,” BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said.
QR Ph is the national standard which uses the quick response technology and code scanning for payments. It benefits both customers and merchants through faster, easier, and cheaper payment options with greater convenience and security.
The new mode, which simplifies digital payments made by customers to merchants, allows customers to transact with a wider range of businesses, including for purchases of goods and services in department stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, hardware stores, and restaurants.
P2M covers a broad consumer base that includes individuals, as well as small businesses, which comprise over 98 percent of registered businesses in the country.
“Because of its low cost and ease of use, QR Ph P2M can enable small unbanked vendors, such as sari-sari store owners and tricycle drivers, to participate in the digital payments ecosystem and allow them to build financial profiles which may eventually facilitate their access to other financial products and services that can help them grow and enhance the resiliency of their businesses,” explained Diokno.
With the full implementation of QR Ph P2M, more banks and non-bank e-money issuers join entities that have been onboard since the facility’s pilot launch last April 30, 2021.
This means customers who have accounts with AllBank, Asia United Bank, Cebuana Lhuillier Rural Bank, China Banking Corp., Land Bank of the Philippines, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., Starpay, Union Bank of the Philippines, and USSC Money Services Inc. can now pay using QR Ph to more than 20,000 participating merchants whose accounts are with AllBank, AUB, BDO, Cebuana Lhuillier Rural Bank, Metrobank, PayMaya, RCBC, Starpay, Unionbank, and UMSI in over 30,000 locations.
With the interoperability feature of QR Ph P2M, consumers and merchants do not need to maintain an account with the same bank or e-money issuer to enjoy its convenience.
“We now have more tools to ‘onboard’ merchants, especially [small businesses], or even informal merchants, and make it easier for them to accept digital payments, thereby widening the range of consumers and businesses who can have access to and enjoy the convenience of using digital payments,” BSP Deputy Governor Mamerto Tangonan said.
Eventually, QR Ph P2M may also be used for bills payment.