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National Payment Systems Act to ensure efficient and secure payments system

The enactment of the National Payment Systems Act is considered critical by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to the Philippines’ payment systems development agenda and to the stability and efficiency of the monetary and financial system.

As reported, Republic Act No. 11127, or the National Payment Systems Act (NPSA), provides a comprehensive legal and regulatory framework that supports twin objectives.

The first is maintaining a payment system that is necessary to control systemic risk and the second is providing an environment conducive to the sustainable growth of the economy.

A payment system provides the channels through which funds are transferred among banks and other institutions to discharge payment obligations that arise from economic and financial transactions across the entire economy.

An efficient, secure and reliable payment system reduces the cost of exchanging goods and services.

Moreover, it is an essential tool for the effective implementation of monetary policy, as well as the smooth functioning of money and capital markets.

The NPSA will foster a level playing field for all participants as they will now be governed by a single overarching legal and regulatory framework.

This will bring about more competition, greater efficiency, and foster digital innovations for both banking and payments products and services.

Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed this landmark legislation last 30 October 2018.

It allows the Philippines to join other countries in the ASEAN, and other parts of the world, in the shared goal of promoting and maintaining a secure and reliable operation of payment systems.

The NPSA mandates the central bank to oversee the payment systems in the Philippines.

They are also mandated to exercise supervisory and regulatory powers for the purpose of ensuring the stability and effectiveness of the monetary and financial system.

Under the law, the central bank shall coordinate with other regulators and concerned government agencies to avoid gaps, inefficiencies, duplications, and inconsistencies in its regulation of other systems related to or interconnected with payment systems.

This includes coordination with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an orderly discharge of payment obligations arising from securities transactions.

The NPSA gives the BSP the power to designate a new payment system if it determines that the existing payment system is posing, or has the potential to pose, a systemic risk or the designation is necessary to protect the public interest.

The central bank has the power to require operators of designated payment systems to secure prior authority to determine the capability of the operator in terms of financial resources, technical expertise and reputation.

They are also authorised to accredit or require, when deemed necessary, a payment system management body organised by participants of the designated payment system for the purpose of regulation.

All operators of payment systems shall register with the central bank in a manner, and within a specific period, that may be prescribed by the Monetary Board within six (6) months from the effectivity of the law.

Under the law’s transitory provision, payment systems existing on the day of the effectivity of the law, shall be given sufficient time, as may be determined by the Bank, to comply with the requirements.

The Bank will issue implementing rules and regulations, and provide guidance to new entities covered under the NPSA on how to comply with the requirements of said law.

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