Senate panel to conduct hearing on looming ATM fees increase
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies is set to conduct a hearing regarding the application of some banks for an increase in automated teller machine (ATM) fees on Monday.
Poe, who chairs the committee, assured that the issue will be thoroughly scrutinized especially as it would affect 4.1 million minimum-wage earners, particularly those who receive their salaries through their ATM accounts.
“We recognize the convenience of ATM machines and the need to keep them working, but any increase should be warranted and should not be too burdensome on the users, especially the workers. P15 means a lot to the minimum-wage earners,” Poe said in a statement.
During the hearing, Poe said that banks would be asked to justify their request for the increase in fees as well as where the additional fees collected from its customers be used on.
Other finance fees, including remittance charges imposed on overseas Filipino workers, will also be discussed, Poe said.
The hearing comes after the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) lifting of a six-year moratorium on ATM fees in July 2019.
Interbank withdrawals, or withdrawing using another bank’s ATM, is currently charged P10 to P15 per transaction while inquiring balance stands at P2 per transaction.
“An increase in bank charge is disadvantageous to an estimated 4.1 million minimum-wage earners who would need to carry the burden of these fees as many of them receive their salaries through ATM cards and withdraw from these machines at least twice a month,” Poe said in a resolution she filed seeking for an inquiry in aid of legislation on the said issue.
“The practice of imposing hefty bank fees, including ATM charges is financially disadvantageous to our country’s more than 58 million ATM cardholders,” she added.
The hearing is set on Monday, 10 a.m. at the Committee Rooms 2 and 3 of the Senate Building in Pasay City.
Among the invited guests who have confirmed attendance are BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno; Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan II; Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Administrator Hans Cacdac and Director Vivian Tornea; BSP officials Vicente de Villa III, Dindo Santos, Melchor Plabasan; Securities and Exchange Commission Commissioners Ephyro Amatong and Kelvin Lester Lee, and Director Vicente Felizmenio; and National Privacy Commission Director Ivy Grace Villasotto.
Three individuals who also raised complaints regarding the ATM fee increase will also be present at the hearing. /je
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