By Joann Villanueva
MANILA — Not all the banks that have applied for adjustments in their automated teller machine (ATM) transaction fees asked for increases, officials of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said Wednesday.
BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier said less than 10 banks have submitted applications to change their ATM fee rates after the lifting last month of the moratorium on such imposed on September 27, 2013.
Fonacier said the requests were being evaluated on a per bank basis since some of them have wide networks of ATMs nationwide, while the others do not have.
To date, the prevailing ATM fees range from PHP11 to PHP15, monetary officials said.
Fonacier said those that have applied to reduce their ATM fees were asking for a reduction from the current average of PHP13 per transaction.
She attributed the application for reduced fees to economies of scale and density of ATM cards the banks have issued.
Fonacier also assured the public that banks will be required to make a public announcement on when the rates on their ATM transaction fees will be adjusted vis-à-vis the central bank’s consumer protection program.
She said banks that have applied for higher fees have been required to justify their requests by submitting the necessary documents.
“The BSP will try to look at it and review whether it is really justified and that it is reasonable,” she said, noting that rates should not increase beyond PHP20 per transaction.
Fonacier explained that among the considerations for any fee increase is for the bank to further service the public’s banking needs, especially those in remote and high-risk areas.
“Of course, BSP would like the banking public’s needs to be served and so we’re opening this but subject, of course, to the scrutiny of the BSP,” she said.
“The banking public is assured that the BSP would really be very objective in trying to review this. It’s not automatic that (after the) lifting (of the moratorium), they can increase the fees on their own. It would still pass the scrutiny of the BSP,” she added.
Fonacier also encouraged the banking public to tap other electronic banking options, such as the real-time electronic payment systems called InstaPay and PESONet, which are the two clearing houses (ACH) under the National Retail Payment System (NRPS).
Relatively, BSP Financial Technology Sub-Sector officer-in-charge Vicente de Villa III said they cannot just push InstaPay and PESONet to people because monetary officials still want to give the latter options depending on their profiles.
He explained there are people who still prefer the “old school way” of banking transactions, like over-the-counter and use of ATMs while there are those who want to use latest means, such as through mobile applications.
“There are those who don’t want to go out and just stay in their home, especially now with the traffic Different market segments have to be addressed,” he said.
De Villa said there are possibilities of reducing the rates “because there are areas where there is competition and are highly saturated.”
He declined to say how much would be the change in fees and noted that monetary officials want the rates to be market-dictated. (PNA)