New fees to push banks to set up more ATMs in provinces: BSP

Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 08 2021 06:14 PM

MANILA – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said the new fee system for ATM services can help push banks to install more units in the provinces.

Several banks recently hiked their interbank ATM fees, with a withdrawal now being charged as high as P18 and balance inquiry charged P2 per transaction. The banks said this was because of the new acquirer-based system for determining ATM fees. 

In his weekly briefing with members of the press, BSP Governor, Benjamin Diokno said the new system aims to address the declining growth in ATM terminals and the limited availability of ATM terminals in the provinces.

He noted most ATMs are currently concentrated in Metro Manila as well as the CALABARZON region as these areas have established infrastructure that enable banks to deploy the terminals at a lower cost.

The two regions have 34 percent and 13 percent of ATMs in the country, respectively, while the share of other regions ranges from 0 to 8 percent. 

"By allowing ATM owners to set the fee, they can be encouraged to place ATM terminals in the provinces since they will now be adequately compensated," Diokno explained. 

"With more ATMs deployed nationwide, we can expect to gain wider reach in terms of banking and financial services, which fosters financial inclusion."

He also noted, banks competing with each other may also lower their ATM service fees to attract more customers to transact with them.

The acquirer-based fee charging (ABFC) for ATM services took effect, April 7, which also meant higher fees for most banks.

Fees for ATM transactions will be set by the bank that owns the ATM used, instead of the previous system where the bank that issued the card sets the fee charged to the user.

In separate advisories on their websites, the country's major banks have earlier announced a hike of between P3 to P7 per withdrawal transaction while balance inquiry fees are set to increase by P0.50 to P1.

The fees are automatically deducted from the cardholder's account.

While there may be higher service costs when withdrawing and inquiring balance from the ATM of other banks, these remain to be free when a cardholder transacts at their bank’s ATM.