Clients of some of the country’s biggest banks will get for free the services of two major digital payment channels until the end of the third quarter as some financial institutions suspended charging of fees for these services for the entire 2020.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno made this announcement, welcoming the bankers’ response to the BSP’s call for relief measures to benefit the public and deepen their use of digital payment modes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the BSP chief several banks which are members of the Philippine Payments Management Inc. (PPMI) had agreed to waive service fees for PESONet and InstaPay channels until the end of the year.

These banks are:

  • Union Bank of the Philippines
  • Asia United Bank
  • Land Bank of the Philippines
  • Development Bank of the Philippines
  • Security Bank
  • Sterling Bank
  • Standard Chartered Bank
  • HSBC

The fee waiver is applicable to retail users, while corporate clients will see such fees reduced from P150 to P50 per transaction starting on July 1, 2020.

“The rest of the membership will extend the waiver of fees until September 30, 2020,” Diokno said.

These banks and PPMI members are:

  • BDO Unibank
  • Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co.
  • Bank of Philippine Islands
  • RCBC
  • China Bank
  • Philippine National Bank (until further notice)
  • Bank of Commerce
  • Robinsons Bank
  • Philippine Savings Bank
  • Paymaya
  • GXI
  • China Bank Savings

“The BSP is actively pushing for the use of digital payments now as part of a safe and convenient payment system,” the central bank chief said.

“My goal is to have half of all financial transactions — in volume and value — should be in digital form by the end of my term which is midyear 2023,” Diokno said.

“With the quantum jump in the use of digital payments during the lockdown, I’m confident that this goal would be achieved sooner,” he said.

Amid a decline in cheque transactions and ATM withdrawals during the quarantine compared to pre-quarantine levels, electronic payments through the PESONet and InstaPay services of financial institutions grew by 74 percent for PESONet and 42 percent for InstaPay in volume and value.

Earlier, Diokno said he wanted to also see more Filipinos making transactions through electronic payments, given the health risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to cash transactions.

But, for this to happen, he noted that the public must first be made more aware about the risks and rewards of using digital financial services.

These digital services included:

  • online account opening
  • money transfers
  • e-payments solutions
  • Other tech-supported financial transactions

To foster their use, the BSP’s campaign seeks to educate consumers on:

  • improving familiarity with online platforms
  • reducing usage errors, scams and frauds
  • mitigating risk of loss
  • promoting consumer protection
  • ensuring positive consumer experience

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