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BSP orders Lyka to stop operations as Operator of Payment System


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The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) announced Friday it has ordered social media platform Lyka to halt its operations as an Operator of Payment System (OPS), pending registration with the central bank.

“It has come to our knowledge that Lyka, a social media platform launched in the Philippines by a Hong Kong-based company, allows its users to purchase, exchange, and use Gift cards in Electronic Mode or GEMs as payment for goods and services,” BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said at a virtual press briefing.

“The Monetary Board has ascertained that these activities make Lyka an OPS and is thus required to register with the BSP, which is needed before it is allowed to continue with its OPS activities,” he said.

The central bank chief said the BSP ordered Lyka to suspend its activities as an OPS and invited the company to apply for registration before it can be allowed to continue with its activities.

The suspension of Lyka’s OPS operations is pursuant to the Republic Act No. 11127 or The National Payment Systems Act (NPSA).

Likewise, BSP Circular No. 1049 provides for the Rules and Regulations on the Registration of Operators of Payment System.

Registration of an OPS allows the BSP to have oversight of the payment system it operates to ensure that it functions safely, efficiently, and reliably by itself, consistent with the central bank’s objectives of consumer protection and financial stability, according to Diokno.

Under Circular No. 1049, OPS that are required to register but are found to be operating without registration shall be directed to comply with the Circular’s registration requirements.

Those that fail to comply may be ordered to stop operations until immediate action is taken to register with the BSP.

This is without prejudice to other enforcement actions that may be taken against the OPS and its directors/officers and/or employees in accordance with the BSP’s authority over payment systems under RA No. 7653, as amended or The New Central Bank Act and the NPSA.

Willingness to register

Diokno said, “The operators of Lyka have already expressed their willingness to register with the BSP as an OPS.”

The BSP, meanwhile, reminded entities operating a payment system to comply with the requirement under the NPSA and BSP Circular No. 1049 to register with the BSP.

It also advised the public to transact only with BSP-registered OPS that are listed in the BSP’s website.  An OPS may be cash-in service providers, bills payment service providers, and entities such as payment gateways, platform providers, payment facilitators and merchant acquirers that enable sellers of goods and services to accept payments, in cash or digital form.

“To confirm if an OPS is duly registered with the BSP, the public may view the list at: https://www.bsp.gov.ph/PaymentAndSettlement/COR.pdf,” the central bank said.  —KBK, GMA News

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