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Increased use of nat’l ID in banking transactions a big step forward

Responding to an advisory of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) that all government and private entities should accept the Philippine Identification Card (PhilID) as proof of identity, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) ordered all banks and financial institutions under its supervision to accept the PhilID card as proof of identity, subject to proper authentication.

The BSP said that all financial institutions shall accept the PhilID in both physical and mobile formats, without the need for another ID. The ID will be authenticated via online and offline methods using physical security features, QR code digital verification, biometric verification, and SMS one-time password (OTP). The BSP’s latest move is expected to speed up the propagation of the use of the PhilID in important day-to-day transactions. As of Oct. 21, about 5,922,304 transaction accounts have been opened due to the co-location of PSA registration sites and Land Bank of the Philippines branches.

This latest update is encouraging, considering that just more than three million Filipinos have already received their physical PhilID card. This is still a small fraction of the total of 40,264,550 Filipinos who have completed their Step 2 registrations as of end-October. The PSA’s goal is to register at least 50 million citizens by the end of the year. The PSA has announced, too, the forthcoming launch of the Philippine identification system (PhilSys) mobile ID, the digital version of the PhilID.

The benefits and advantages of widespread use of the PhilID are easy to appreciate. It promotes greater financial inclusion, especially among the most vulnerable groups such as the poor, people living in geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas, indigenous peoples, and persons with disabilities. The transition to a digital economy, including paperless and cashless transactions, has been accelerated significantly by the exigencies of the pandemic and these could be facilitated further as majority of the population acquire and use the PhilID.

The BSP has directed banks and non-banks to include the PhilID in their list of valid IDs to be displayed on their counters, public entrances of their establishments, websites, social media accounts, and other consumer information channels. These robust features truly enhance the PhilID’s utility and security advantages that warrant its adoption as a foundational ID system.

Hopefully, the easing of quarantine restrictions would also enable the PSA to speed up the delivery of physical PhilID cards. Meanwhile, the BSP is updating and enhancing its electronic know-your-customer (e-KYC) procedures to improve the financial institutions’ customer identification system and has included the national ID as an independent source of proving one’s identity in the customer due diligence process.

PhilID registrants must heed the PSA’s advice to safeguard the letter containing their PhilSys Number (PSN) upon receiving the PhilID and to refrain from posting a photo of the same on social media and other public platforms. Observance of these basic safeguards will secure the benefits provided by the PhilID.

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