Banks urged to stop charging higher fees

A congressional leader on Friday appealed to banks to stop charging higher fees for automated teller machine transactions during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We must give workers and hardworking Filipinos the tools they need to recover from the pandemic, and that includes making sure they can keep their money in their own pockets and out of the hands of banks to cover unnecessary fees,” House Deputy Speaker and Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera said.

Pursuant to a memorandum issued by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, ATM users will pay fees depending on rates by banks that own the specific machines they are transacting with starting April 7.

Herrera says this is a departure from the current system in which flat rates are set by the bank where the client maintains an account.

ATM withdrawal fees currently range from P10 to P15, which has been the case since 2013.

By April 7, ATM withdrawal fees are expected to range from P10 to P18.

Banks will also be imposing a fee of P1 to P2 for balance inquiries. 

Herrera says any increase in fees amid the pandemic is unacceptable.

“The news that banks are imposing higher withdrawal fees leaves a bad taste in the mouth since the pandemic has so much of the county’s businesses shut down and millions of Filipinos are out of work,” Herrera said.

She says banks should instead be ensuring that people will not be faced with any unnecessary charges that compounds their already fragile financial state.

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