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P5 maximum interbank ATM fees pushed

BAYAN Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate called on the House leadership to speed up the passage of a bill that would set interbank transactions in automated teller machines (ATM) at a maximum amount of P5.

House Bill No. 4019 or the ATM Fee Regulation Act of 2019 seeks to regulate the rate of fees and charges that banks imposed for ATM transactions.

Zarate filed the measure back in 2019 with fellow Bayan Muna Reps. Ferdinand Gaite and Eufemia Cullamat. Under the measure, all banks operating and providing ATM services shall charge a standard rate of transaction fee for members and non-members alike according to the following:

Ø Intrabank transaction – no charge;

Ø Interbank transaction – not more than P5 per transaction;

Ø Balance inquiry (interbank and interbank) – no charge

According to the proposed law, “transaction” shall include, but not limited to, balance inquiry, deposit, withdrawal, and fund transfer.

"Banks are also required to disclose the amount of fees they charge and collect from ATM users for every transaction and post it conspicuously on the screens of ATMs prior to the completion of any transaction,” the bill states.

Zarate made the call in the light of banks implementing another increase in ATM fees.

Banks already earn profits when the salaries and wages of workers are coursed through them by the employers, they should not further extract profit from the workers who need every peso of their earnings, Zarate said.

“Why can’t the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the banks also make sacrifices just like the millions of Filipinos in these trying times. Pandemic profiteering is truly abhorrent during this time of crisis,” the lawmaker added.

Philippine banks have migrated to a new ATM pricing model whereby fees charged to a cardholder for withdrawal or other transactions are based on the fees of the acquirer or the owner of the ATM terminal used.

The new system has generally resulted in higher fees on transactions using ATM terminals owned by entities other than the ATM cardholders’ issuing banks.