BSP consumer chatbot now on live run to address complaints vs financial institutions

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 20, 2020   •   239

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has fully deployed its consumer chatbox which aims to address complaints against BSP-Supervised Financial Institutions (BSFIs).

The chatbot called the BSPS Online Buddy (BOB) can efficiently handle queries sent through the webchat in the BSP Website, SMS, or social media. BOB can also respond to queries and complaints in English, Tagalog or Taglish.

BOB may be accessed through the following: 

  1. BSP Webchat –  http://www.bsp.gov.ph/]
  2. SMS – 21582277 (for Globe subscribers only; BOB will also be made available for other network subscribers soon)
  3. BSP Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BangkoSentralngPilipinas/

“Aside from enhancing BSP’s quality of service, BOB empowers financial consumers by giving them a more accessible channel for raising complaints. This is in line with BSP’s commitment to pursue innovations in financial services for the benefit of Filipinos,” according to BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno. -AAC

Washing, soaking money to disinfect violates the law, BSP warns

Marje Pelayo   •   August 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines —The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) advises the public to refrain from soaking banknotes in detergent soap, bleach solution and other chemicals.

“Iwasang ibabad o wisikan ang salaping papel at barya ng tubig at sabong panlaba, alcohol, bleach, at iba pang kemikal (Refrain from soaking or misting paper bills or coins with soap, alcohol, bleach or other chemical solutions),” the agency said in its advisory.

The BSP said washing or laundering money may destroy its features and such an act would constitute a penalty under the Constitution.

“Ang pamamaraang ito ay itinuturing na ‘acts of mutilation or destruction of Philippine currency'” at may kalakip na kaparusahan alinsunod sa probisyon ng PD No. 247 (This method is considered an “act of mutilation or destruction of Philippine currency” and is punishable under the provision of PD. No. 247),” the agency added.

Fear of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has led to creative approaches to avoid infection.

However, the BSP says washing money is not a good idea.

Under Presidential Decree 247, any act of defacing, mutilating, tearing, burning or destroying central bank notes and coins incurs a fine of more than P20,000 and/or by imprisoned for not more than five years.

Instead of washing, the BSP recommends maintaining proper hygiene and practicing proper hand washing after touching bank notes and coins.

“Para maiwasan ang pagkalat ng #COVID19, kailangang gawin ang proper hygiene at ituring ang pera na katulad ng ibang mga bagay na laging hinahawakan (To avoid the spread of COVID-19, it is important to practice proper hygiene and treat bank notes as regular objects that are frequently touched),” the agency said.

“Ugaliin ang paghuhugas ng kamay at pag-iwas sa paghawak ng mukha pagkatapos humawak ng pera (Practice regular hand washing and refrain from touching your face after touching money),” it added.

OFW remittances recover in June after three-month decline —BSP

Marje Pelayo   •   August 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Personal remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) bounced back in June after three consecutive months of decline, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) announced Monday (August 17).

According to the report, remittances from OFs increased by 7.6% in June 2020 to US$2.737 billion from US$2.545 billion in June 2019. 

The growth was attributed mostly to the remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more.

However, cash in-flows from sea-based workers dropped by 13.1% from US$593 million in June 2019 to US$515 million this year “due to the repatriation of many sea-based workers amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

By country source, remittances for January to June 2020 from the United States, Japan, Singapore, Oman, and Taiwan were among the countries that registered continued growth.

However, the highest decline in OF remittances was noted in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Germany, and the United Kingdom.   

The highest share to total OF remittances at 39.7% for January to June 2020 emanated from the US, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, UK, UAE, Canada, Hongkong, Qatar, and Taiwan.

The combined remittances from these countries accounted for 78.9% of total cash remittances.

BSP tells consumers: Practice ‘cyber hygiene’ in digital transactions

Robie de Guzman   •   August 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) advised financial consumers to practice cyber hygiene when making online transactions.

The BSP said cyber hygiene refers to practices and steps that users of digital devices and financial services take to ensure online security.

While central bank’s policies and regulations direct supervised financial institutions to comply with stringent cybersecurity risk management protocols and internal controls, it said consumers also have the responsibility to reduce their vulnerability to usage errors and be vigilant against financial crimes perpetrated online. 

“Cybersecurity awareness and cyber risk management should be part of the daily routine of Filipinos. Every consumer must diligently observe cyber hygiene practices to protect themselves from scammers and fraudulent financial transactions,” BSP governor Benjamin Diokno said in a statement.

As consumers shifted to online financial transactions during the pandemic, the BSP noted that internet banking, mobile banking and e-money remain among the top concerns reported through the Consumer Assistance Management System (CAMS).

“Most issues pertain to fund transfers, crediting funds to recipient accounts, and unauthorized transactions,” it said.

It added that these data underscore that cybersecurity is the shared responsibility of financial institutions and consumers alike.

They likewise strengthen the resolve to intensify implementation of its Digital Literacy Program, which aims to increase public trust and confidence in the digital finance ecosystem and encourage massive usage of digital financial services by consumers across all sectors, including individuals, corporations, businesses, and even government institutions.

Digital literacy is seen as a core skill necessary for financial consumers to fully benefit from the digital finance ecosystem, the BSP said.

Digitally literate consumers are those who understand how to use digital financial services; know the risks of usage and have the ability to protect themselves from such risks; and aware of consumer rights and redress procedures, it added.

“Digital literacy becomes more crucial as the BSP implements various aspects of its Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap, which aims to shift at least 50% of retail payment transactions to digital, and to have at least 70% of adult Filipinos owning and using a bank account or e-wallet by 2023,” the BSP said.

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