Now Everyone Can Use Online Banking In The Philippines As BSP Announces Every Bank Can Transfer Money Electronically

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Now everyone can use online banking!

The Philippines moves forward with its banking systems, as The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) announced that all banks and non-banking financial institutions (NBFIs) are required to offer online banking services. This is to allow people who deposit often into their accounts to transfer between banks.

Memorandum M-2018-026, issued on Sep, 4, states that financial institutions must make interbank electronic fund transfer (EFT) services available. This can be done by signing up with either one or both of the newly created automated clearing houses (ACHs), Instapay or PESONet, by Nov, 30. And any bank that doesn’t action this face fines from the BSP.

The news was well-received since it increases the flexibility of most depositors’ online bank accounts. Most users check their balance, order cheques, pay their bills or transfer funds to other accounts in the same bank. Although sending to and receiving from other banks was rare, this now gives online bank users more options.

What’s the difference between PESONet and Instapay?

instapay philippines

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Instapay and PESONet are currently the only two BSP-accredited ACHs.

PESONet is short for Philippine EFT System and Operations Network and was launched in November 2017. EFTs are processed in bulk, which means individuals and businesses can transfer and receive large amounts across banks online. However, due to the procedure, PESONet is only available on normal working days, where the transfers take place by close of play.

On the other hand, InstaPay was launched in April 2018 and is popular for smaller and more frequent transactions. The biggest plus of using a bank signed up to Instapay is that transfers happen instantly. So if you process your transaction at any time (weekends included) money should arrive or be sent shortly after. The biggest drawback to Instapay is you can only transfer a maximum of PHP50,000 per transaction. But that’s a minor inconvenience since there’s no limit to how many transactions you can make each day!

It’s worth noting that whether your bank uses PESONet or Instapay, the recipient of a transfer will always get the full amount sent. Only the sender receives a minor transaction fee. 

The future is bright for online banking

instapay philippines

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According to Philippine Payments Management Inc, 43 banks and NBFIs already offer PESONet enabled services, whilst 30 banks offer online banking with Instapay. However, many of the financial institutions only receive funds through ACHs as not all banks offer the option to send and receive money online.

But that hasn’t been an issue for users so far. Since July, 31, more than 3.4 million transactions worth PHP520.6 billion were transferred via PESONet, whilst 127,000 transactions worth PHP1.5 billion were wired through Instapay.

The launch of these ACHs is part of BSP’s National Retail Payments System project. The primary goal is to make 20 percent of all transactions in the Philippines electronic by 2020. This is a big jump, considering EFTs accounted for only one percent in 2015. But with PESONet and Instapay Philippines available, it’s possible to meet this target!


If you haven’t already, will you sign up for online banking with these new laws? Share the good news with a friend!

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Written by

Vinnie Wong