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, the 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’.”
“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,” the veteran legislator said.
“Marami pa rin ang hindi nakakabalik sa kanilang trabaho at malaking tulong sa kanila kung hindi na sila magbabayad ng bank transaction fees.”
“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,” the seasoned lawmaker 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 the senator 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.