ING launches account for electronic payments

DIGITAL mobile lender ING Bank N.V. Manila launched on Tuesday an account for electronic payments for bills and retail purchases.

ING Philippines on Tuesday introduced ING Pay, which allows customers to pay bills using its mobile app for more than 70 companies, including those in the utilities, insurance, and credit card industries, it said in an online briefing. Transactions do not require enrolment and no transfer fees will be charged.

The account also provides a free virtual debit card which customers can use to make digital retail payments. ING Philippines said it will also soon launch a physical debit card to enable withdrawals at BancNet-enabled automated teller machines (ATMs).

“With a strong focus on customer-centricity, we are able to leverage technology and make banking processes easy, so customers do not have to spend more time than necessary. We deliver personal and instant insights so customers can take actions or just have a peace of mind that their finances are being taken care of,” ING Philippines Head of Retail Banking Mohamed Keraine said in the briefing.

The bank is offering 5% cashback for purchases using its debit card until the end of December. Customers can spend up to P1 million and receive a total of P50,000 in cashback.

ING Philippines said only customers can access their account details and they can also freeze their debit cards on the bank’s mobile app as a security feature.

The bank also plans to launch consumer loan products next year to help expand online banking in the country.

“We are a really customer-centric company. You can expect that in the course of 2021. The ING’s lend offer is going to be introduced,” Mr. Keraine said.

Even with more financial technology firms offering various services in the country, ING Philippines said digital banking is only beginning to gain ground among Filipinos.

“There is a full transformation happening, but I think we’re just at the beginning of it. There will be more players in the long term, and ING is focused on offering complimentary services,” Mr. Keraine said.

ING last year rolled out its digital savings account. The bank said so far, its customer base has doubled and its balance in deposit accounts has grown by over 10 times.

Under its Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap for 2020 to 2023, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) wants 70% of adult Filipinos to have a bank account by 2023. It also targets 50% growth in the volume of electronic retail payments by that year.

BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said on Tuesday that the central bank will roll out tools and initiatives to boost digital banking in the country.

The BSP will launch a person-to-merchant QR code system, which will allow payments from consumers to retail stores using smartphone cameras.

Another is a bills payment facility that will allow firms to collect from their customers, even if the payment service providers of the billers are different from those of the customers. Through its request-to-pay service, consumers will be able to pay in full or by installment.

The central bank will also open a direct debit facility, which will let consumers issue an electronic authority to billers to regularly transfer funds for their rentals, loan amortization, or insurance premiums.

“Recognizing that digital payment services are increasingly becoming indispensable in our daily lives, the Bangko Sentral embraces a governance approach where innovation is encouraged while the accompanying risks are effectively managed,” Mr. Diokno said in his speech at the online event.

The BSP also wants to implement an open banking system that uses application programming interfaces (APIs) to easily share financial data from customers, which will help banks design products, reduce charges, and speed up delivery of services.

“Open banking through APIs will allow the exchange of banking and associated financial data across software applications. It will assist in on-boarding financial consumers and ease the high costs associated with customer due diligence procedures,” Mr. Diokno said.

The volume of e-payments made up 10% of total transactions in 2018 from just 1% in 2013, according to a Better than Cash Alliance report. By value, digital transactions comprised 20% of the total in 2018 from only 8% in 2013. — K.K.T. Jose

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