Can't 'impose' on banks to waive online transfer fees as BSP tells consumers it's cost of 'convenience'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 05 2020 11:44 AM | Updated as of Oct 05 2020 12:02 PM

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MANILA - Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Gov. Benjamin Diokno said Monday they could ask but not order or impose on banks to waive fees for online money transfers as this forms "part of their business."

In an updated list by the BSP, at least 31 banks and e-money issuers have waived transaction fees for online money transfer using InstaPay and PESONet until end of the year while 3 financial firms, namely GCash, PayMaya and MUFG Bank would impose fees by November.

"I encouraged them, I asked the banks to waive the fees and they did. Most of them did...And there’s some like GCash, PayMaya and one other bank they said they will waive the fees until end of this month," Diokno said. 

"That’s through our moral suasion, we cannot impose on them to waive their fees because that’s also part of their business," he added.

Diokno said consumers should view the said charges as "convenience fee" which banks or issuers would likely use to invest in infrastructure or cybersecurity.

Part of the BSP's role is to publish the rates on its website "so the people can choose the banks who they want to bank with," he said.

Diokno said he wanted to push digital transactions to up to 50 percent by 2023 or until the end of his term. Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the "quantum jump" in the use of technology, the goal could be achieved by the end of 2022, he said.

However, there remains an "infrastructure gap" that hinders the adoption of fintech in the Philippines such as the limited broadband capacity which is likely to be addressed soon, he said.

PANDEMIC ARSENAL

On the Monetary Board's pandemic arsenal, Diokno said it still has some 10 percent of additional funds available should the government need to borrow more.

The BSP on Thursday approved the National Government’s request for a fresh P540 billion loan.