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MAKATI SOLON TO BSP: DEFER HIKE OF ATM FEES

Makati City Representative Luis Campos Jr. is asking the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to consider deferring the implementation of a new automated teller machine (ATM) charging model that will cause user fees to spike up to 63 percent starting April.

Campos, a member of the House committee on banks and financial intermediaries said it is a bad time for banks to be “nickel-and-diming pandemic-weary Filipinos”.

The BSP, through Monetary Board Resolution No. 1680 dated Dec. 22, 2020, approved the shift from issuer-based to acquirer-based ATM charging model effective Apr. 7, 2021.

Under the new charging model, the bank that owns the ATM will be the one charging a fee for each withdrawal or balance inquiry. At present, the bank that issued the ATM card is charging the fee for each transaction.

“Spare Filipinos the aggravation, considering the extremely adverse economic backdrop of mounting joblessness and rising food prices.”

“Our sense is, it might be more prudent to put off the effectivity of the new ATM charging model to spare Filipinos the aggravation, considering the extremely adverse economic backdrop of mounting joblessness and rising food prices,” Campos said.

The legislator noted that two big banks, acting as owners of over 6,700 ATMs, have already announced on their websites that effective Apr. 7, they will be imposing a fee of P18 per withdrawal transaction on cardholders of other banks, up P7 from the P11 they are currently collecting.

“The banks can afford to keep their ATM charges at current levels,” the seasoned lawmaker stressed. “Right now, the government, including Congress, is working very hard to extend Filipinos every possible relief and spare them from more difficulties.”

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) earlier reported that the inflation rate in January, driven by higher food prices, rose for the fourth consecutive month and exceeded the government’s 2-4 percent target band until 2024.

The consumer price index rose at a faster annual pace of 4.2 percent last month, its highest since the 4.4 percent inflation seen in January 2019, amid higher pork and chicken prices, the PSA said.

The Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP), meanwhile said BSP’s acquirer-based ATM fee policy ensures competition among financial institutions for the benefit of the banking public.

BAP backed the regulator’s policy on ATM fees imposed by banks following the lifting of the nearly six-year moratorium for fee adjustments in July 2019.

“We are appreciative of the BSP’s move to adopt this pricing philosophy that is market-driven and customer-centered. This policy promotes competition and efficiency in the banks’ effort to deliver better services to the banking public,” BAP managing director Benjamin Castillo said.

The BSP has approved the requests for several banks that have applied for higher fees for non-clients who will use their ATMs starting this year.

“Cardholders who will continue to transact through the ATMs of their respective bank will continue to enjoy free ATM services.”

“Cardholders who will continue to transact through the ATMs of their respective bank will continue to enjoy free ATM services,” Castillo said.

For those who will use the ATMs of other banks, he said cardholders “still have an option to proceed or not to proceed with his transaction mindful of the ATM fee that will be charged”.

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