Senators urge banks to extend free online transfer fees during pandemic

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 01 2020 03:20 PM

MANILA - Several senators on Thursday urged banks and mobile payment providers to extend the suspension of fees for digital transactions as the country is still grappling with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Several banks are set to resume collecting fees for every digital payment coursed through their apps this month.

"We appeal to our banks and financial institutions to suspend their collection of fees for digital transactions during this very challenging time," Angara, who chairs the Senate Committee on Finance, said in a statement.

"Right now every family is penny pinching due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic so every peso saved goes a long way," he said.

Senate Committee on Economic Affairs chair Imee Marcos gave a similar statement, saying banks and financial service providers should help in promoting "the growth of small businesses during this crisis."

"Those who were gainfully employed have been forced to find an alternative means of livelihood online," Marcos said in a separate statement.

"Banks and fintech companies can certainly afford to postpone new fees for a longer period," she said, noting that "e-money transactions already registered 36 percent growth" last year.

Opposition Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan also appealed to banks and online payment service providers to either suspend or "lower" e-transaction fees until the global pandemic ends.

"Milyon ang nawalan ng trabaho dahil sa COVID at lockdowns. Malaking tulong 'yung pagsuspindi o pagbaba ng online transaction fees," he said.

"The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas should step in and suspend or slash the online transaction fees during this health emergency," he said.

As of October 1, at least 31 banks and fintech service providers have agreed to waive online transaction fees until December 31, 2020.