Small businesses, digital nomads support capping bank transfer fees

Warren De Guzman, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 12 2022 01:59 PM | Updated as of Aug 17 2022 08:03 PM

MANILA — Small business owners and digital workers said Friday bank transfer and transaction fees should be capped and regulated since these financial charges are biting into their income.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Albay Rep. Joey Salceda earlier filed a proposal to enforce more regulation and even a cap on such fees for InstaPay and PesoNet transactions.

Food kiosk owner Marie Jeanette Reyes said since the fees are transactional, they could grow to a significant sum for small businesses which have multiple online bank transfer transactions daily. 

“Kung maya’t maya meron din kaming transaction at maya't maya din naman yung service charge na 'yan, kawawa naman kaming maliliit na negosyante. Sana kung one-time lang din 'yan, pwede pa eh. Kung maya't maya, malaki ang mababawas sa amin, sa liit ng kinikita namin," Reyes said.

(If we transact frequently, fees are also imposed often. Small businesses like us suffer. Fees cut into our very small revenues.)

She said fees should also be uniform so that no one would waste time finding the cheapest way to transfer funds.

Even widely used e-wallets will charge fees if the bank of their customer or supplier has large service charges on Instapay and Pesonet transactions. 

For ride-hailing driver Joel Bergado, while these are part of the digital economy, something must be done to mitigate inflation of fees.

“Wag lang masyadong malaki, para hindi lugi (just not too much so we won't go bankrupt)," he said.

He said the P15 to P25 per transaction fees, when combined, are also a huge sum.

Banks and e-wallets earlier waived InstaPay and PesoNet fees during the pandemic but majority have now reinstated their charges.

The BSP has yet to respond to Salceda's proposal. The Bankers Association of the Philippines, meanwhile said, these fees are already well regulated and properly disclosed.

InstaPay and PesoNet are part of the BSP's National Retail Payment System (NRPS). InstaPay allows for real-time transfers of P50,000 and below, while PesoNet is intended for larger transfers.

InstaPay charges range from P8 to P30, while PesoNet fees range from P8 to as high as P2,100.

If the transaction is between financial institutions which have different fee structures, the customer is likely to get charged. 

The BSP in 2021 said banks are allowed to waive or reduce their current fees. 

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