Gatchalian calls for moratorium on online money transfer fees amid rising COVID-19 cases

Gatchalian calls for moratorium on online money transfer fees amid rising COVID-19 cases

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Win Gatchalian urged the Bangko Sentral
ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the banking community to suspend the collection of fees
on online money transfers while COVID-19 cases peak.

“With a number of banks shortening their operating hours,
some banks even temporarily closed as some of their employees have also
contracted the disease or manifested symptoms of COVID-19, it would be a wise
move if the public resort to electronic banking to lessen face-to-face
transactions,” Gatchalian said.

“While most are currently burdened with expenses brought
about by medicines, COVID-19 testing fees, and hospitalization, a fee-less money
transfer service and payment transaction can also be a temporary relief measure
to the public,” the Vice-Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Banks,
Financial Institutions and Currencies added.

Gatchalian said his proposition had been employed by the
BSP and some BSP-supervised financial institutions (BSFIs) when Metro Manila
was placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in April 2020 and even
when the lockdown was extended in May 2020.

Some banks waived the collection of electronic fund
transfer (EFT) service fees for InstaPay and PESONet transactions until the end
of last year.

Instapay transfers a daily limit of P50,000 with
transaction fees ranging from P0 to P40 while PESONet transfers a daily limit
of P200,000 with transaction fees ranging from P0 to P775 as of November 30,
2021

“It will be better if financial institutions and
companies offering e-wallet services also extend the same relief to the public
to help lessen the queuing in payment and cash transactions,” the senator said.

“Dahil dito, maeengganyo pa natin ang ating mga kababayan
na manatili na lang sa kanilang mga tahanan at idaan na lang ang transaksyon sa
pamamagitan ng online. Mas mapapabilis na ang serbisyo, makakaiwas pa sa sakit.
Mas mapapabilis ang pagbabalik normal ng ating pamumuhay kung magtutulungan
tayo,” Gatchalian said.

In the most recent BSP figures, the share of digital
payments on the volume of retail transactions increased further to 20.2% in
2020 from 14% in 2019. According to BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno, this means

that one out of five payment transactions last year were done digitally. (ai/mtvn)

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