It’s been almost a year since the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) launched InstaPay, the interbank fund transfer mechanism which is part of BSP’s National Retail Payments System (NRPS). Since then, several banks and financial institutions have enabled their systems so that they can send and receive money between participating institutions. Unfortunately, a few of them, like the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), have yet to enable InstaPay (as of this writing) so that their clients can send money to other InstaPay-participating banks.
There is a way, although a bit indirectly, to send money to other banks. This assumes that you have accounts with BPI and Gcash.
Link your BPI account to your Gcash
It’s a good thing that BPI and Gcash are under the same owners (the Ayalas, I suppose), that integration between these two is available. If you only have BPI for a bank account and you really need to transfer to other banks, so far, you’re out of luck until BPI upgrades their mobile app and their desktop site to support fund transfers to other banks. I hope that comes soon.
Within Gcash, there’s a Cash-In option that allows you to fund your Gcash account from various sources. One of them is by linking your BPI eBanking account to Gcash. Just follow the cash-in instructions, where you will be asked to provide your BPI account login to initiate the linking process.
Upon successful linking, you may now proceed to funding your Gcash via BPI!
Top-up your Gcash account
Follow the series of screenshots below to top-up.
- Indicate the amount you intend to top-up to Gcash, and choose the BPI account you wish to debit the amount from (in case you have more than one account);
- Confirm the transaction.
- It will confirm the mobile number to which it will send the One-Time PIN (OTP), which is standard for BPI’s Transfer-to-anyone feature. Tap on Send Code to proceed.
- Await the OTP SMS, and fill it in the field provided.
- Voila! Your Gcash will now be loaded.
It’s well worth mentioning here: It seems that this BPI-to-Gcash way of topping up is FREE!!
I double-checked my BPI account and it was only debited the amount that I nominated. No surcharge applied on a separate entry!
After you have topped up via the above method, you may now proceed to sending money to another Gcash account, or to another bank account in the list. (You can even load your PayMaya account from your Gcash account!)
Take note that until now, Gcash InstaPay transfers are still FREE! This surely beats all other banks who have varying surcharges for InstaPay, from as sky-high as 100 pesos to as cheap as 5 pesos. This way of transferring from BPI to Gcash to another bank might take more steps than usual, but who wouldn’t want their transfers to be fee-free, right?
So there you have it. I’ve been following up with BPI since late last year as to when they will finally enable their outbound InstaPay via their eBanking platform, but all they can say is “soon”. I’m still hoping that it finally, finally happens, because a lot of the other banks have already done so and complied with the central bank’s directive since last year. While they’re busy upgrading their banking system, I hope this small tip will help those who are on BPI to also use InstaPay, albeit indirectly, for more convenience.