This is supposedly a QR code. I wonder where the QR went. If you find it, can you scan it and see where it leads?

You’ve probably seen your preferred eBanking or e-money apps introduce some QR code scanning feature recently. You probably tried doing some transfers with friends who are on the same bank or e-money platform. Of course, you need to find people on the same “network” because otherwise, that QR code won’t be readable at all.

Somehow, you’re also probably aware of the terms InstaPay and PesoNet, probably tried one of them recently, tapping away at your favorite app to send funds but making sure you don’t mistype anything lest the funds go elsewhere!

Wouldn’t it be simply nice to be able to send funds to banks just by scanning a QR code?

Introducing the National QR Code Standard

On 20 November 2019, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) launched the National Quick Response Code Standard (“QR Ph”). This standard enforces a common way among BSP-supervised financial institutions (BSFIs) to generate QR codes that are interoperable with one another. This basically means that one platform scanning a generated QR from another platform will be readable. This way, it will be able to assist the customer for his/her fund transfer without having to manually key in account details and amounts. This is in stark contrast to some mobile banking apps today whose QR codes are currently exclusive to within their own bank only.

Six BSFIs are piloting the new initiative, namely:

  1. Asia United Bank (AUB)
  2. Chinabank
  3. Landbank of the Philippines
  4. Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC)
  5. PayMaya
  6. Union Bank of the Philippines

A Quick [Pseudo] Demo!

News like this is difficult to understand without visuals! We can understand it a bit more by taking a look at two of the pilot BSFIs and how we can use QR Ph for our convenience.

As of posting time, I can see that both AUB and PayMaya have already enabled their apps to support the National QR Code Standard.

The Philippine QR Code Logo

How do we identify that they already are using the Standard?

If you try to generate a QR code in these apps, the central portion has this logo, reminiscent of the Philippine flag colors:

Philippine QR Code Logo
Philippine QR Code Logo

So any time you begin seeing this on your mobile banking or e-money app’s QR codes, this will mean that those QR codes are now interoperable with other banks or e-money apps.

Fund transfer scenario

Let’s say a friend already needs some funds in his PayMaya account. He then generates a QR code via Request Money like below, so a friend using an AUB app can settle his debts and pay for it via InstaPay.

Sample QR code from PayMaya
This is just a sample QR code. I’ve doodled on it so this is basically un-scannable. But you can try generating a QR code yourself! Just login to your PayMaya app and click on “Receive Money”.

Now, with the image download by the AUB user, he can now proceed to scan to pay using an AUB app, for instance, AUB’s Hello Pag-IBIG app, which is now able to also read these QR codes:

Upon tapping Scan To Pay, he can either scan the QR code, or provide the QR image downloaded from the PayMaya user. Either way, the payment details will then be automatically loaded, including the payee’s name and his account number (which, in PayMaya’s case, is the mobile number):

The destination account number (PayMaya mobile number) and account name are automatically provided! No need to worry about mistyped account numbers!

And by continuing with the InstaPay transaction, funds will be transferred (ahem) instantly!

As usual, InstaPay transfers are INSTANT! (or as they say, “near real-time”. 😉

Using the AUB Hello Pag-IBIG app, I also found that I can also generate a QR code, and you can even give it an alias! However, I can’t use it in reverse, i.e., PayMaya is not able to read it successfully [yet]. But I’m assuming they are working on it. 🙂

QR code generated with the Hello Pag-IBIG app
Palimos ng Pag-Ibig, directed by Ronx Ronquillo (2018)


Hopefully, this catches on with Filipinos soon, and hopefully, more banks and e-money platforms begin using the National QR Code as well. It will help lessen errors and make transferring funds and payments a lot more convenient.

Have you tried exploring QR Ph on one of these pilot BSFIs? Share your experiences by commenting here!