Cash cards of 4Ps beneficiaries to be unlocked for more transactions – BSP

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
totalITemsFound:
maxPaginationLinks: 10
maxPossiblePages:
startIndex:
endIndex:

(FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 21) – Families receiving conditional cash transfers from the government may find more uses for their cash cards by August, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said.

BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said work is underway to allow additional features on the cash cards held by some 4 million families in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, which will make their usage similar to typical bank accounts.

Currently, cash cards issued by the Land Bank of the Philippines only allow a one-way fund transfer from the government to beneficiary households for their monthly cash aid, which often depends on conditions like sending their children to school and having regular health checkups and vaccines for kids. This is limited compared to typical bank deposit cards, where online fund transfers across banks and bills payment can be done through web or mobile app portals.

"The conversion from cash card into interoperable accounts will allow millions of 4Ps beneficiaries to receive funds from other sources, such as their families, friends, local government units, and others just like any account," Diokno said in a virtual media briefing on Thursday.

More than 60 percent of Filipinos remain unbanked as of 2017, according to BSP data.

The central bank has been actively pushing for increased digital payments and transactions especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce the need for human contact. The BSP wants to migrate 50 percent of all cash and check transactions to digital platforms by 2023.

Online fund transfers and payments are more efficient in terms of logistics and transmit money faster with lower costs, the BSP has said.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Information and Communications Technology earlier announced plans to transfer the second tranche of the government's cash aid program to select beneficiaries online via the ReliefAgad mobile application created for this purpose.

Low-income families living in areas that remain under enhanced community quarantine are expected to receive ₱5,000 to ₱8,000 worth of assistance for the second month of the Social Amelioration Program. There, eligible households can choose how they want to receive the money: through PayMaya, GCash, their bank accounts, or as cold cash.

Separately, the BSP said 56 government agencies have tapped into the central bank's EGovPay facility, which lets businesses and individuals to pay their taxes and fees due to the government through bank transfers. The program initially covered the Bureau of Internal Revenue but has since expanded to other offices and even local government units.

Also on the table are person-to-merchant platforms that use quick response or QR codes, which are standard black and white images which can be scanned to facilitate money transfers to small vendors or big business establishments. The central bank said this is scheduled to launch in the fourth quarter, Diokno said.

RELATED: BSP gives banks until June 2020 to use standard QR codes for e-payments