QC solon urges BSP to suspend online bank transfer fees until pandemic ends
MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker is urging the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to suspend online bank transfer fees indefinitely until the end of the coronavirus pandemic.
Under House Resolution No. 1271, Quezon City 2nd District Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo said the waiver of fees for online banking transactions and other electronic payment services will ease the burden of Filipinos amid the pandemic.
The lawmaker said the transfer fees should be waived “not only until the end of the year but while the country is battling the COVID-19 pandemic” as she pointed out that many people are doing online money transfers due to health risks from face-to-face and over-the-counter transactions.
“Digital channels that support social benefit transfers, payments to merchants or billers including the government, payments to suppliers, and remittances have facilitated access to basic financial services during community lockdowns,” Castelo said.
Castelo said the BSP should be able to compel all banks and financial intermediaries under its jurisdiction to comply with its directive to suspend money transfer charges.
“There should be universal compliance. We cannot have two or three platforms defying the regulator, while all the others are complying,” Castelo said, adding that banks and financial intermediaries can afford to waive transfer fees “because this is not where they make money.”
“These are just small fees – P10-P15 per transaction. That’s gravy to companies making billions in annual profits,” the lawmaker said.
At the Senate, Senators Sonny Angara and Francis Pangilinan have also called on the suspension of the collection of online transaction fees during the pandemic.
“Right now every family is penny-pinching due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic so every peso saved goes a long way,” Angara, chair of the Senate finance committee, said last week.
“We appeal to our banks and financial institutions to suspend their collection of fees for digital transactions during this very challenging time,” he added.
The BSP earlier said at least 31 banks and financial institutions will continue to waive fees for online fund transfers for the rest of the year while a few others have extended their fee waivers until the end of October.
Financial institutions that decided to waive transfer fees for the rest of the year include Asia United Bank, Bank of Commerce, Cebuana Lhuillier Rural Bank, Citibank (for retail clients), CTBC Bank (Philippines) Corp., DCPay (for retail clients), Development Bank of the Philippines, Eastwest Bank, Equicom Savings Bank, HSBC Savings Bank, Land Bank of the Philippines, Maybank Philippines (for retail clients) and Metrobank.
Also waiving their fees till the year-end are Philippine Business Bank, Philippine National Bank, Philippine Savings Bank, Philippine Veterans Bank, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., Robinsons Bank Corp., Rural Bank of Guinobatan, Security Bank Corp., Standard Chartered Bank, Sterling Bank of Asia, Union Bank of the Philippines and United Coconut Planters Bank.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.