When you purchased goods or subscribed to services at physical and digital stores, you may have noticed QR codes with a unique logo. The ones that bear the colors of the Philippine flag are using a standard called QR Ph. Consumers and merchants alike need to know how it works, as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas mandated its full adoption by July 2023.

What is QR Ph?

Simply put, QR Ph is the national QR code standard. It’s based on the EMV, an international standard for payments named after its three main proponents: Europay, Mastercard, and Visa. QR Ph launched in November 2019 by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas with the approval of Philippine Payments Management, Inc. (PPMI).

Don’t know QR code either? They are those two-dimensional barcodes you often see on posters, product packaging, and promotional materials. The PhilID cards have one prominently displayed at the back. It’s easy to spot a QR code as it distinctly has three squares in the corners with smaller, random black-and-white square pixels in a grid pattern.

What is the purpose of QR Ph Codes?

Did you know that you can transfer money between Maya and GCash using a QR code? You can thank QR Ph for that, as it was launched with interoperability in mind along with the promotion of efficiency and inclusion of cashless transactions. Before QR Ph came along, digital wallets and other services had their own ecosystems, and back then customers were often only able to transact with other customers in the same ecosystem.

QR Ph offers convenience and ease of use. Merchants and service providers can offer QR Ph codes as a simple scan-and-pay transaction method to their customers, and the customers need not worry about which payment provider they use.


As to why BSP advocated the use of QR code technology in the first place, the country’s central bank recognizes it being one of the better, if not the best, ways of transferring funds between accounts. In terms of regulation, the BSP wants a policy and framework that encourages collaboration and partnerships among industries and at the same time manage risks.

How do you use QR Ph Codes?

Using QR Ph is effortless. All you must have is an Internet-connected smartphone with a camera (one that’s decent enough to recognize a QR code) along with the app for making the transaction. The initial set of banks and other electronic money issuers that support QR Ph consists of the following:

  • Asia United Bank
  • China Bank
  • Land Bank of the Philippines
  • Maya
  • Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC)
  • Union Bank of the Philippines

Expect more banks and other EMIs supporting QR Ph in the future. Note that QR Ph is integrated into their apps. QR Ph does not have its own standalone app.

Generally, when you are sending money using QR Ph, you simply open the banking or EMI app of your choice, proceed to the payment section of the app, and select the QR payment method. Once you are prompted to do so, scan the recipient’s QR Ph Code with your smartphone camera. You may also need to manually type the amount you want to transfer. Review the details before finalizing the transaction.

On the other hand, if you are the one receiving money, open your banking app and look for the option to generate a QR Ph code. Banking apps have plenty of guides on how to generate QR codes. For in-person transactions, present the QR Ph code to the sender through your smartphone display. If the sender is transferring money remotely, send a screenshot or image of the code to the sender via messaging apps.


See also: ATM Fees in the Philippines

What are the advantages of using QR Ph?

Mainly, QR Ph provides convenience. You no longer need to carry around wads of cash, thereby having a peace of mind especially when the transaction involves a large amount of money. And have you ever thought how dirty paper money can be? Thanks to QR Ph, you no longer have to. That, and several other reasons why going cashless is the right move.

In addition, your financial information can stay private when you use QR Ph. You no longer need to share your bank account information to send or receive money.

Depending on how it was generated, or if no extra details are required, a QR Ph code can be repeatedly used in separate transactions. Note that transactions made using QR Ph is final and cannot be reversed. Make sure you review all details, especially the amount, before going through with the transaction. Otherwise, you may need to do another transaction to resolve any discrepancy.

In terms of cost, transactions using QR Ph may be free depending on the bank or EMI. Otherwise, you as the sender may be charged with a transfer fee. The amount charged is the same as that of transferring money via InstaPay. Other than that, the amount transferred is received in full immediately and without any surprise or hidden charges.

That’s it. Did we miss anything? If you have any questions, let us know in the comments and we’ll try to help you out.

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