Digital payment firms and customers using their services should be on guard against a rash of hacking attempts being perpetrated by criminal elements on electronic transaction accounts, especially with their increased used during the ongoing home quarantine scheme.

In a statement, the Philippine Payments Management Inc. (PPMI) also urged clients to trust only legitimate channels when dealing with financial institutions online, including official websites and verified social media accounts.

“Consumers have a role in educating themselves about using digital payments, and ensuring that they secure their accounts,” PPMI chair Justo Ortiz said on Tuesday (May 26). “A lot of information is available online, such as in [the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’] social media platform for financial education advocacy, Pisolit.”

The group said that while the COVID-19 pandemic has increased usage of digital payments, there has been an observed increase in attempts at scams and financial crimes.

“Given the surge on e-payments usage, we remind both our bankers and users to be on full alert for online scams and financial crimes, which have increased during the [enhanced community quarantine],” he said.

PPMI — a self-governing body that helps oversee the payments industry and ensure the implementation of the National Retail Payments System with the BSP — also called on banks and e-money issuers to enhance and increase their capacity to accommodate the surge in e-payments and protect consumers through continuous system upgrades and enhanced online security measures against cyberthreats.

The group said it expects digital payments to increase in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and, as such, banks and e-money issuers must continue building awareness, customer service quality and trust on digital payments among customers.

“We continue to partner with the BSP, our banks and e-money issuers in creating a more conducive environment for digital transactions especially as the government continues to ease restrictions and while adjusting to the new normal,” Ortiz said. “We support the call of BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno to our kababayans to shift to the easy, safe, secure and convenient e-payments for your transactions even after COVID-19.”

At the same time, the group called on its member firms to continue helping consumers transition to online and mobile banking during and after the pandemic.

“With the restrictions in movement due to different levels of quarantine, banking services must continually be made available to consumers through means that will be safe for the customers and the providers as well,” Ortiz said.

The group noted the exponential increase in the adoption of digital or electronic payments in recent years, with the number of Instapay transactions from March until April rising to 15.6 million, which was 3.9 million or 34.5 percent higher than figures during pre-ECQ months in January to February of 11.6 million.

The value of Instapay transactions in March and April reached P96.4 billion, higher by 27.4 percent or P20.8 billion versus the previous two months of this year pre-ECQ. On the other hand, PESONet transaction value during the same period was higher by P57.4 billion or 21.5 percent compared to the combined figures from January and February.

Edited by TSB



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