Asia United Bank, China Bank, Land Bank, RCBC and Union Bank became the first banks to to adopt the national QR standard along with e-wallet PayMaya. The official QR code standard for the country, dubbed QR Ph, was launched by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) last week in ceremonies attended by industry stakeholders at the BSP Assembly Hall. During the launch, these six pilot adoptors of QR Ph demonstrated how fast and easy it is to use QR Ph.
QR is short for Quick Response, a cutting-edge technology that uses a bar code capable of storing large amounts of information in patterns of black dots and white spaces arranged in a square grid. The QR code can be read by a smartphone scanner or other mobile device equipped with a bar-code reader. When personal and financial information are stored in it, a QR code can be used to send and receive money.
“The use of QR codes has been gaining traction as an alternative to the traditional debit and credit card payments because it is faster, easier and more convenient,” said BSP governor Benjamin Diokno during the launch. “This cutting-edge technology will further push digital payments forward and enable us to advance our NRPS agenda,” he added.
QR Ph was developed by electronic payments company BancNet at the initiative of and in collaboration with the Philippine Payments Management, Inc. (PPMI), the body that oversees payment systems in the country under the National Retail Payments System (NRPS) regulatory framework. It was based on the Europay-Mastercard-VISA (EMV) standard, a global standard for secure payments. QR Ph allows a single or common code to be scanned and interpreted by any participating bank or e-wallet mobile app for money transfers and payments. QR Ph makes many different QR codes interoperable.
“QR Ph interconnects the QR codes of banks and non-bank electronic money issuers much like how the ATMs of different banks are interconnected and interbank transactions are enabled,” PPMI general manager Carmelita Araneta explains. “Sending money via QR codes is through InstaPay, the real-time, low-value and secure fund-transfer service under the NRPS.”
BancNet CEO Aristeo Zafra Jr. adds that “For now, only person-to-person (P2P) QR-enabled payments and fund transfers are processed by the system operated by BancNet. Customers of the five pilot banks can send to and receive money from one another. On the other hand, holders of Paymaya e-wallets can receive money from customers of the five banks. The other banks and e-wallets are expected to implement QR Ph in 2020. Also on the QR Phroad map are payments to big and small merchants or business establishments (P2M) and individual payments for utility, credit card and other bills (P2B).”