The central bank is looking to conduct a pilot test the Electronic Credit Transfer Scheme (ECTS) under the National Retail Payment System (NRPS) before the end of the year, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla said on Thursday.

“Our primary focus now is to operationalize the electronic fund transfer system,” Espenilla explained.

Espenilla is referring to the establishment of the Electronic Credit Transfer Scheme under NRPS, wherein businesses and individuals can open one account with any financial institution and be able to transfer funds or make payments to any other accounts maintained in other financial institutions.

“We were hoping that before the end of the year we would have at least a pilot test, because while we are engaging the bankers’ association to lead this it is not exclusively meant to be banks only, so we have other accounts,” he said.

Asked about where the pilot test area would be, Espenilla said its not so much the area but the use case.

“The natural starting point would be to encourage government transactions to be executed in electronic transfers. These are all being discussed,” he said.

Other features under the scheme include a “Sender Only Pays” policy the BSP intends to promote, which will allow consumers to receive funds and payments in full, with no deductions; immediate credit to the accounts of recipients upon settlement to ensure availability of funds; multiple clearing and settlement of payment transactions via PhilPaSS (RTGS) on a daily basis; electronic issuance of other payment-related documentation such as official receipts and withholding tax certificates, the details of which are currently being arranged with the Bureau of Internal Revenue; the reduction of transaction-related costs to less than that of current systems; and the close monitoring and management of settlement risk.

NRPS is “a policy and regulatory framework that provides the principles for the governance of an electronic retail payment system in the country that is safe, efficient, and reliable.”

NRPS is positioned to facilitate the country’s transition from a cash-heavy to cash-light economy, while ensuring there is no discrimination in access to the retail payment system for all qualified participants.


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