Gatchalian urges BSP to encourage more banks to continue to waive fees

Gatchalian urges BSP to encourage more banks to continue to waive fees

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — To help ramp up the digitization of financial services in
the country, Senator Win Gatchalian urged the Bangko Sentral ng
Pilipinas (BSP) to enjoin more banks and electronic-money issuers
(EMIs) to offer free online bank transfers and transaction fees.

Gatchalian, Vice-Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Banks,
Financial Institutions and Currencies, made the call to help
accelerate the shift to digital transactions of the financial services
in the country in line with the BSP’s digital payments transformation
roadmap (DPTR) until 2023.

The BSP has earlier announced that 17 banks will continue to waive
PESONet fees while eight others will not collect InstaPay fees until
December 31, 2021. These banks started to waive PESONet and InstaPay
transaction fees last year as part of their contribution to the
government’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Cashless transaction na ang ‘new normal.’ Mas tatangkilikin ito ng
publiko kung wala na silang babayarang transaction fees. Kung may mga
bangko na nagawang suspindihin ang pagkolekta ng transaction fees
magmula nang magka-pandemya noong isang taon hanggang sa ngayon,
maaari rin itong ipatupad ng iba pa,” said Gatchalian.

“Habang tuloy-tuloy ang pandemya, sana tuloy-tuloy din ang libreng
transaction fees lalo na’t marami pa rin ang hindi nakakabalik sa
kanilang trabaho at malaking tulong sa kanila kung hindi na sila
magbabayad ng bank transaction fees,” he added.

As of end of July this year, the BSP noted a significant spike in
digital transactions amid the pandemic with InstaPay transaction
volume and value increasing respectively by 64% and 103% relative to
the same period in 2020 while PESONet’s transaction volume and value
also grew by 190% and 50% respectively.

In a recent Senate briefing, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno told
Gatchalian that under the digital transformation roadmap, the goal is
to have at least 50% of all transactions converted into digital form
two years from now transforming the country from cash-heavy to
cash-lite society.

Mindful of the fact that the country’s central monetary authority
cannot impose on banks to waive fees for online money transfers and
transactions, Gatchalian said it should encourage those in the banking
and electronic fund transfer service sectors to sustain the gains in
digital transactions. (ai/mtvn)

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