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Monday, April 15, 2024

After GCash, BSP eyes quick way to settle financial rows

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MACTAN, Cebu—The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is crafting a system that could settle disputes between feuding parties in the financial system, which may involve fraud.

BSP Governor Felipe M. Medalla said the recent incident involving GCash account holders have prompted the regulator, the central bank, to coordinate with bank and non-bank institutions to resolve issues immediately.

“An important e-money company reported its depositors are complaining that they’re seeing in their own eyes, their balance is falling, although they’re not doing anything. Now, luckily, they were able to respond quickly,” Medalla said in a press briefing at the sidelines of the Financial Stability Conference.

“But by the way, they are not due to hacking, they’re due to phishing,” he said, as there were some people hastily turning over their one-time password to the scammer.“So, meaning it’s not hacking, it was fooling.”

He said as people make the system more difficult to penetrate, the scammers find new ways of getting to potential victims.

“Therefore this is a challenge that will be there forever. Regulators should also get better at it,” he said.

GCash earlier assured its subscribers and the public that its application remains safe to use since its management maintains a cybersecurity program and policy that could deal with any arising internet challenges and anomalies.

Gilda Maquilan, GCash vice president for public affairs and corporate communications, had earlier reported that after receiving reports of irregular funds’ movement from the subscribers’ accounts, the mobile wallet management immediately conducted a probe and detected phishing as the cause of the problem.

Medalla said things like the GCash incident will happen as bank deposits are now closer to money than ever before.

“So clearly, private money will be more and more closer substitutes for sovereign money. So in that sense, it’s bad because then the edge of the centralized central bank will be reduced, especially at the time when we think that reserve requirements are too high and should be reduced,” he said.

Medalla said the BSP needs to settle disputes involving banks and their clients. It has a court room-like set up in its office for the hearing of cases. Its decision cannot be overruled by lower courts and only the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court can do so.

“The system is being gradually built in that direction, because we expect a lot of complaints and identifying, deciding whether it’s the depositors’ fault or is the banks’ fault. This is the business that has to be done rather quickly. And well, I see of course, that that is not going to be problematic, because I’m sure that if you tell a bank you’re guilty, they will pay quickly because we have a long memory,” he said.

Image credits: Patrick Roque via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

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