Congress Fears A Significant ATM Fee Hike Is Approaching, Seeks Probe Into Possible Increase

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) lifted a moratorium placed on the adjustment of any ATM (automated teller machines) fees last month.

The moratorium has been in effect since 2013 when certain banks eyed as much as a 50% increase in interbank withdrawal and balance inquiry charges. Now that the moratorium has been lifted both the lower and upper houses of Congress are anticipating another attempt to increase these fees.

bank atm stock photo

(BPI to Begin Implementing Fees for Online and Mobile App Transactions)

Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. has filed an inquiry enabling the committee on banks and financial intermediaries of the House of Representatives to probe into the looming fee hike. Senator Grace Poe has likewise filed a similar resolution as chair of the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies. Both are especially concerned about how the reported increase in fees would affect consumers and minimum wage earners.

Based on the previous attempt to increase fees it is believed that “these charges could jump to as much as P15 to P30 per single interbank withdrawal, possibly even higher, with the removal of the moratorium,” according to Campos.

For Poe: “[It] 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. The practice of imposing hefty bank fees, including ATM charges is financially disadvantageous to our country’s more than 58 million ATM cardholders.”

However, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin E. Diokno has assured that no banks have applied for an increase in fees as of yet. “The moratorium on [ATM] fee (adjustments) just finished. Pero hindi naman automatic na mag-a-adjust [But it does not mean the banks will adjust fees automatically],” He stated.

How do you feel about a possible increase in ATM fees? 

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