I once mentioned that online banking is, for me, at least, one of the most useful innovations of the 21st century. Electronic Fund Transfers, or EFT’s for short, are one of the biggest reasons why I find it so.
These days, hardly a week goes by that I don’t utilize online banking. Whether it’s checking if my receivables have already come in, paying my credit card bill, or purchasing a few items from an online shop, Internet banking spares me the trouble of running to the bank, standing in line for an hour, or frantically looking for a branch that’s open on weekends or after working hours.
The only thing I didn’t appreciate about the whole endeavor was that electronic fund transfers could only be made to depositors at the same bank, so I ended up having to open an account at another bank just to accommodate my clients who banked with them.
So, I was utterly chuffed when I was casually scrolling through my feed yesterday and came across the news that it will soon be possible to electronically transfer funds to ALL BANKS.
Yep, whether you bank with BDO, BPI, Chinabank, or even Australia and New Zealand Bank, you’ll be able to send money online to accounts from any other bank. According to Memorandum M-2018-026 issued last 4 September, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has mandated that all banks and non-banking financial institutions enable their depositors to make interbank EFT’s by 30 November 2018.
BSP’s memorandum also instructed the country’s financial institutions to sign up with either or both newly-created automated clearing houses (ACH’s) that enable and process EFT’s. These BSP-accredited ACH’s are PESONet and InstaPay.
PESONet, or Philippine EFT System and Operations Network, allows individuals and companies to digitally send and receive large amounts of money across banks. There is practically no limit to how much you can send across the platform any given time, but because PESONet processes EFT’s in bulk, its services are only available during banking days and the transactions are only completed at the end of the day.
InstaPay, on the other hand, processes EFT’s in real time, so transactions clear faster. As a bonus, depositors using InstaPay can transact at any hour, any day, including weekends and holidays. The one drawback to this option is that users are restricted to a maximum of Php50,000 per transaction, although you can have as many transactions as required in a day.
However, I should still hang on to my account at the other bank, it seems. While interbank EFT’s will definitely be a gamechanger, they do come with fees that vary depending on the banks involved. (Bank-to-bank EFT’s will remain free of charge.) Only the sender is charged for interbank transactions on the PESONet or InstaPay platforms, so, at least, the recipient will automatically receive the money sent in full, unlike when payments are coursed through other money transfer agents.
Should the change be successfully implemented, it will be one step in BSP’s National Retail Payments System (NRPS) project, which aims to increase the percentage of online transactions in the country from 1% in 2015 to 20% in 2020.
This, of course, is great news to those of us already making use of electronic banking, and will probably encourage other depositors to get in on the action. Let’s all remember to exercise caution in carrying out our online activities, though, so that we reap nothing but benefits from the upcoming changes.