Bill promoting digital payments hurdles 2nd reading in House

MANILA – The House of Representatives on Monday approved on second reading a measure promoting the use of digital payments for financial transactions of the government and all merchants.

The chamber passed through voice voting House Bill 8992, which mandates the use of safe and efficient digital or electronic mode of payments by all national government agencies (NGAs), government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), and local government units (LGUs) in the collection of payment of taxes, fees, tolls, imposts, and other revenues, and in the payment of goods, services, and other disbursements.

Under the bill, government entities adopting digital payments shall be provided in their respective budgets the amount necessary to cover the cost of establishing and maintaining the infrastructure, system, and process adjustments, as well as transaction fees incurred in connection with the implementation of digital payments, such as merchant discount rate, processing fees, cash-out fees, and administrative fees.

It seeks to mandate NGAs, GOCCs, and LGUs to adopt account-based disbursements, where recipients directly receive government payments into their bank or digital accounts.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas shall be mandated to accelerate the adoption of the national quick response (QR) code standard to facilitate the interoperability of QR-driven payment services and eliminate the need for merchants and clients to maintain several accounts.

LGUs shall accelerate the establishment of their digital payment by enacting ordinances requiring merchants to install a functional digital payment system at their place of business, either by themselves or through outsourcing arrangements, as a prerequisite for the approval or renewal of their business permits.

LGUs could extend assistance to small and micro-merchants to facilitate their adoption of digital transaction capability.

The bill mandates NGAs, GOCCs, and LGUs to prioritize the use of safe and efficient digital payment in their financial transactions in order to optimize its benefits and promote financial inclusion.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology shall implement measures to further enhance internet connectivity throughout the country in support of the digitalization of financial transactions. (PNA)

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