August 15, 2019
THE looming adjustments in automated teller machine (ATM) fees should encourage the public to consider using other modes of banking transactions, like electronic channels (e-channels), a senior central bank official said on Wednesday.
“This development is [telling] the banking public to consider other channels, as well. So it couldn’t be just ATM. We have InstaPay [and] PESONet, and later on we’ll have the QR code, as well for retail payments,” Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier said in a briefing.
PESONet and InstaPay are the two priority automated clearing houses launched under the National Retail Payments System (NRPS), which was established to transform the country’s payments systems and increase retail e-payment transactions from 1 percent of total transactions to 20 percent by 2020.
PESONet is a batch electronic fund-transfer payment system that is expected to provide an alternative to the still widely used paper-based check system. Funds will be made available to recipient accounts within the same banking day or immediately upon clearing.
InstaPay allows customers to transfer peso funds almost instantly between accounts in participating BSP-supervised banks and non-bank electronic money issuers.
“I think our call for the public is to also keep an open mind, considering electronic channels for (their) mode of payments,” Fonacier said.
Her latest statement came amid concerns raised by some lawmakers over the lifting of the moratorium on ATM fees last month.
They warned that this could jack up ATM charges to as much as P15 to P30 for every single interbank withdrawal from the current P10 to P15.
But the Bangko Sentral was quick to clarify that banks needed to secure regulatory approval before jacking up these fees.
“[B]anks cannot increase the ATM fee on their own. In fact, any bank that intends to adjust ATM fees must file its request with the BSP, indicating their proposed fees, as well as the costs currently incurred by the bank with respect to its ATM activities,” Fonacier said.
Pressed for further details, she told reporters that fewer than 10 banks had applied for an ATM fee adjustment since the lifting of the moratorium.
Most of these banks are seeking higher charges, but their proposed fee does not exceed P20, according to the official.
She noted that there were some applicants who want to reduce their fees to be more competitive than their peers.
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