BSP bucks ATM fee regulation, warns of repercussions
MANILA, Philippines — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Tuesday rejected the proposal to regulate and cap the automated teller machines (ATM) fees, citing its possible repercussions to customers.
During a House banks and intermediaries committee hearing, BSP Financial Technology Sub-sector Managing Director Vicente De Villa III warned that consumers may ultimately shoulder the cost of recuperations if ATM fees are capped.
“If the amount is capped at a certain level, the cost of recuperation will be passed on through another aspect, and it might be through the consumers as well,” De Villa said.
Two bills seeking to regulate ATM fees have been filed in the House of Representatives.
Under House Bill No. 4850, authored by Quezon City 2nd District Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo, all banks and financial institutions shall charge a standard fee of not more than P10 for interbank transactions while intrabank transactions shall remain free of charge.
Meanwhile, under Bayan Muna party-list’s House Bill No. 4019, interbank transactions shall be charged not more than P5 while intrabank transactions shall remain free.
Should these measures be enacted into law, De Villa said problems could also arise when inflation of prices is considered.
“In the event that we have to adjust prices for inflation, if it’s actually pegged in the law, it may have to go back to the legal process again, the legislative process and that might be also somehow not as efficient,” he pointed out.
He instead proposed to let the market dictate the fees for ATM transactions in order to maintain a “very competitive market.”
“On our end, what we espouse for is market-driven, reasonableness and transparency, and keeping a very competitive market whose competition will play its role,” the BSP official said.
BSP, however, expressed support to the proposal requiring banks to post ATM transaction fees so that the public “will be able to make the right decision if all these prices are made transparent.”
Such a proposal was made under House Bill No. 2507 authored by Quezon City 5th District Rep. Alfred Vargas.
“If prices are too high and accessibility is a problem, and there are areas saturated with all of these ATMs, the public will be able to make the right decision if all these prices are made transparent,” De Villa said.
He added ATM fees and charges should undergo an evaluation process to ensure they are reasonable.
Edited by KGA
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