SSS adopts new claims, loans payment systemBy Ronnel W. Domingo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Under the plan, the SSS intends to do away with the practice of disbursing loans and benefits by issuing checks, and adopt an electronic payment system through the use of electronic cash cards.
Emilio de Quiros Jr., SSS president and chief executive, said Wednesday that under a memorandum of agreement signed on June 5, the pension fund will start issuing Citi Prepaid Card to members within the second half of 2012.
De Quiros said the move was aimed at providing more convenience and ensure the timely delivery of funds to SSS members and their employers.
The project follows the kick-off earlier this year of the system that provides for the release of employees’ mandatory reimbursement and maternity claims payments through bank accounts.
“Our ultimate goal is to institutionalize check-less transactions to eliminate problems that may occur in sending checks through mail,” he said, citing incidents such as delayed delivery, delivery to wrong addresses and theft.
Replacement of lost checks take up to six months.
The electronic release of loans and benefits “will offer greater convenience for members and employers since they no longer have to go to a bank to encash or deposit their checks, nor wait for the required check-clearing period,” he added.
“(This) will help especially the members based in the provinces, since issuance of checks is centralized at the SSS main office in Quezon City and thus takes more time to be delivered to them,” De Quiros said.
He said members would incur no additional cost for the use of the card, which would be valid for three years and accepted in automated teller machines and debit transactions.
The Citi Prepaid Card can be used in more than 15,000 ATMs under the combined networks of Bancnet, Megalink, Maestro, Cirrus, Mastercard, Visa and Plus.
Also, more than half a million point-of-sale terminals in the Philippines will also accept transactions using the card.
As for SSS members who work overseas, their cards will be issued only in the Philippines although the cards can be used for transactions “anywhere in the world.” The cards are recognized by over 30 million merchants and more than 1.5 million ATMs globally.
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