February 22, 2024

A Guide to FATF Travel Rule Compliance in the Philippines

A Guide to FATF Travel Rule Compliance in the Philippines
  • The FATF Travel Rule was implemented in the Philippines in February 2021.
  • There is no minimum threshold in the Philippines for the Travel Rule to kick in, as originating and beneficiary VASPs must collect and share names and account numbers/unique reference numbers of their customers for all transactions.
  • The extent of information that VASPs are required to collect and share increases substantially when the value of crypto transactions exceeds ₱50,000 (about $893).

In 2021, the Philippines joined the Asia-Pacific Group and became a member of FATF-Style Regional Bodies. The same year, Bangko Sentral NG Pilipinas (BSP), the country’s Central Bank, released Circular 1108 to provide guidelines for Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs), which included the Travel Rule. 

With that, the FATF Travel Rule went into effect in February 2021 in the Philippines. As a result, crypto exchanges and service providers are now all required to follow the Philippines Crypto Travel Rule.

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This year, the Philippines has begun tightening Travel Rule requirements even further to strengthen the country’s AML and CFT measures against any illicit crypto transactions.

What is a VASP in the Philippines?

A VASP, according to BSP, is any entity that offers services facilitating the transfer or exchange of virtual assets and is involved in the following activities:

  • Exchange between fiat currencies and virtual assets;
  • Exchange between different types of virtual assets;
  • Crypto transfer, and 
  • Administration and/or safekeeping of crypto or instruments enabling control over crypto

Complying With the FATF Travel Rule in the Philippines

According to the country’s Central Bank, VASPs must share the following information with their corresponding VASPs for all crypto transactions, irrespective of the amount:

  • Name
  • Account number or Unique reference number, if that is not available

However, the extent of personally identifiable information that VASPs have to collect and share with their corresponding VASPs increases substantially when the amount of crypto transaction exceeds ₱50,000 (about $893). 

In such cases, VASPs are required to collect and share the following information:

  • Name
  • Physical address 
  • Date & place of birth.
  • Account number

Additionally, originating and beneficiary VASPs must establish and actively adhere to strict sanction screening procedures. They must also screen all transacting parties against terrorist financing lists and adverse media reports. 

Moreover, VASPs must perform necessary due diligence on the transfer of virtual assets to and from countries that haven’t implemented the FATF Travel Rule yet. They also have to exercise caution and perform enhanced due diligence when dealing with crypto transfers using unhosted wallets.

Global Context and Comparisons

The Travel Rule is part of a broader set of recommendations by the global anti-money laundering watchdog, the FATF, which included the Philippines in its ‘grey list.’ As a result of this, Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines have increased monitoring in order to maintain their trade relations and gain access to international finance. 

Countries like the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong have already taken similar action and tightened up regulations on the sector. 

Meanwhile, several countries such as Singapore, Switzerland, Estonia, South Korea, Canada, Japan, the US, and the UK have also adopted the Crypto Travel Rule and require digital asset service providers to maintain customer information and establish procedures to ensure compliance with AML/CFT measures.

The Philippines’ Travel Rule threshold is in line with the FATF’s $1,000 limit and more or less in conformity with other countries. In Singapore, the threshold for collecting and recording sender and receiver information is SGD 1,500 (about $1,115), while in the United States, it's $3,000. However, in Estonia and Malaysia, there's no minimum amount requirement for gathering this information.

Concluding Thoughts

While the Philippines has taken significant steps to align with international standards by implementing the FATF Travel Rule for cryptocurrency transactions, these regulations have sparked a debate about their impact.

By setting requirements for VASPs to collect and share detailed information on transactions, the country aims to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. However, the increasing regulatory measures, including the latest tightening of the Travel Rule, highlight the ongoing tension between ensuring financial security and maintaining cryptocurrency's open, decentralized ethos.

This delicate balance continues to shape the landscape of crypto regulation both in the Philippines and around the world. Amid this, it's crucial for both regulators and industry representatives to remember that user security and experience should always be a priority.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q1: What Are VASPs Required to Do Under the Travel Rule?

They must collect and exchange personal information for transactions exceeding ₱50,000 (about $893).

Q2: Who Qualifies as a VASP in the Philippines?

Entities that facilitate the transfer or exchange of virtual assets, including exchanges between cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies.

Q3: What Happens if VASPs Fail to Follow the Travel Rule?

They may face regulatory penalties, including fines and revocation of their operating license, for non-compliance with the BSP's guidelines.


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Shyft Network facilitates the transfer of verifiable data between centralized and decentralized ecosystems. It sets the highest crypto compliance standard and provides the only frictionless Crypto Travel Rule compliance solution while protecting user data.

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