The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will stop accepting new applications for licenses from electronic money issuers beginning Dec. 16, Governor Benjamin Diokno said Thursday.
Diokno said in an online briefing the Monetary Board which he chairs decided to recalibrate the approach in handling applications from non-bank institutions for new electronic money issuer licenses in line with the thrust of the BSP to promote financial stability and strengthen public confidence in the digital economy.
He said the approach involves the closure of the regular application window for new EMI-others license for non-bank financial institutions for a period of two years and the introduction of the test-and-learn pathway for innovative e-money solutions that offer strong value propositions.
“This strategic change will enable the Bangko Sentral to monitor the performance of current market players and the risks they pose to the financial industry. This will also allow us to assess their impact in relation to our financial inclusion and digital payments transformation objectives,” Diokno said.
All applications received by the Bangko Sentral until Dec. 15 will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. These will be assessed for completeness and sufficiency of documentation/information submitted and compliance with other applicable requirements.
Applications received until Dec. 15 with noted deficiencies would be returned and considered closed. The Bangko Sentral will no longer entertain nor accept new applications beginning Dec. 16.
The policy approach introduced the test-and-learn pathway for new non -bank EMI applicants with new business models, unserved, targeted niches and/or new technologies.
Applicants may still participate in the digital payments and financial ecosystem by requesting for exception under the test-and-learn / regulatory sandbox framework. The specific guidelines governing new non-bank EMI applications under the regulatory sandbox framework will be covered by a separate issuance.
Diokno said the policy decision “reflects our commitment to espouse an enabling environment for responsible and responsive innovation in the financial industry.”
“At the same time, we will be able to ensure that the business environment continues to serve the public interest, allow healthy competition among market players, and foster safe and interoperable payments for the digital economy,” he said.
Data showed that as of end-October, there were 35 licensed non-bank electronic money issuers or more than three times the number of players in 2019.