BSP: Depositors benefit from new ATM fee method


Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Friday the implementation of the acquirer-based ATM fee charging of banks beginning April will benefit the public as it entails transparency and give consumers the option to choose the banks that satisfy their needs.

Starting April 7, banks will adopt acquirer-based ATM fee charging, which is one of the requirements of the Bangko Sentral for lifting the moratorium on ATM fee adjustment implemented in 2013.

A cardholder is currently charged by his/her bank the same ATM fees for transacting at other ATM terminals. With ABFC, a financial institution can set ATM fees for non-customers, while continuing to offer free ATM withdrawal and balance inquiry services to customers.

“The method is more advantageous to the transacting public as it promotes transparency and empowers consumers to choose the financial institution that satisfies their needs in terms of fees and quality of service,” the BSP said.

It said the new scheme would allow financial institutions that deploy ATMs to be reasonably compensated for servicing non-customers, and this also incentivizes them to set up more ATM terminals, which widens the reach of banking services in the country.

“Providing ATM services entails cost, including the counting and transporting of cash and its loading in ATMs; using electricity; providing security; and other expenses to operate and maintain said machines. BSP-supervised financial institutions are required to employ safeguards to ensure that their clients can safely and conveniently use ATMs,” the banking regulator said.

ATM withdrawal fees range from P10 to P15, which has been the case for more than seven years. By April 7, ATM withdrawal fees are expected to range from P10 to P18.

The BSP said it would review and approve all requests for ATM fee adjustments and consider the reasonable cost for ensuring the reliability and security of ATM services.

“The adoption of the ABFC also supports the implementation of a more straightforward way of imposing fees as well as enhancements in fee disclosure requirements,” it said.

It said the charging scheme fosters transparent pricing as fees are required to be disclosed to a cardholder before an ATM transaction.

ATM users will be able to make better, more informed decisions on how and where they wish to transact based on ATM fees posted in the ATM terminals.

The BSP said customers may also access financial services or perform payment transactions through InstaPay and PESONet.

“Going digital provides speedy, safe and convenient payment options to consumers, which are available anytime, anywhere,” it said.

The Bankers Association of the Philippines expressed support for the acquirer-based ATM fee scheme.

“We are appreciative of the BSP’s move to adopt this pricing philosophy that is market driven and customer-centered. This policy promotes competition and efficiency in the banks’ effort to deliver better services to the banking public,” said BAP managing director Benjamin Castillo.

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