Philippines Central Bank Issues New Rules On Cross-Border Peso, FX Transactions

June 1, 2022
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has amended its rules on cross-border transfer of currencies to allow greater flexibility for international travellers.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has amended its rules on cross-border transfer of currencies to allow greater flexibility for international travellers.

In a new amendment published in May, the BSP said that non-Philippines residents will be allowed to import or export — including by electronic transfer — up to 50,000 pesos ($1,000) without prior approval from the BSP.

For larger amounts, non-residents must obtain prior approval from the BSP, and for cross-border transfer of physical currency, they must complete a currencies declaration form (CDF) online.

The amendment notes that the term “electronic transfer" refers to any system whereby the authority to debit or credit an account — whether belonging to a bank, business or individual — is provided by wire.

For foreign currency, any person may import or export up to $10,000 worth of cash or monetary instruments to or from the Philippines without any paperwork.

For larger amounts, both residents and non-residents of the Philippines must sign a CDF. The amendment will take effect 30 days after its publication date.

As part of the amendment, the BSP has issued a new CDF, which replaces the foreign currency and other foreign exchange-denominated bearer monetary instruments declaration form.

The new CDF also consolidates the data requirements of the Bureau of Customs (BOC), the Anti-Money Laundering Council and the BSP.

“These amendments will offer convenience to declarants and provide faster, more efficient, and timely capture of data on physical cross-border transfer of currencies,” the BSP’s Monetary Board said in a statement.

“The reforms are part of the BSP’s commitment to strengthen compliance with policy on cross-border transfer of currencies and to integrate digital technology into BSP’s processes,” it added.

The move follows a series of actions over the last few weeks from the BSP and the Philippines’ government aimed at strengthening financial regulations and improving payments market development in the country.

Last month, President Rodrigo Duterte issued an executive order mandating that all public agencies must introduce digital payment and disbursement channels.

This was followed by an announcement by the BSP of the launch of three new e-payment schemes for general use: Request To Pay; Bills Pay; and the Philippines’ first centralised direct debit service.

By relaxing its foreign exchange (FX) rules and adding a digital element to its supervision processes, the BSP may also be following the lead of its close neighbour, Thailand, which has long been the more advanced payments market of the two.

In April, VIXIO reported on the Bank of Thailand’s (BOT) wide-ranging reforms to its FX rules for Thai businesses.

The BOT said the new rules will allow Thai companies to conduct FX transactions with greater flexibility for both cross-border and domestic purposes, helping them to cut costs and improve risk management.

For example, the BOT will allow outward FX transfers to overseas accounts to meet payment obligations without prior approval from the central bank.

Similarly, firms will be allowed to manage their FX risk exposures using hedging techniques without prior approval from the BOT.

Thai companies will also be allowed to purchase FX for domestic transfers whenever necessary, such as for payment of goods whose price is linked to the global market.

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