Casiño urges Congress to investigate 50 percent hike in ATM transaction fees

PARTY-list Representative Teddy Casiño (Bayan Muna) today called on Congress to investigate the October 22 scheduled, 50% hike in transaction fees at the Bank of the Philippine Islands automated teller machine (ATM) network. He said this decision would most likely compel rival networks to impose higher transaction charges of their own.

This developed as workers complained of the P2 charge of the BDO Cash Card, which was described as “a re-loadable prepaid electronic debit card” which does not require a maintaining balance and is used by many employers as a means to release workers’ wages.

“Mukhang padami ng padami ang sinisingil mula sa atin sa paggamit ng ATM pero ang mga bangko naman talaga ang kumikita dito mula pa dati at pera natin ang ginagamit nila. Ngayon e tataasan pa nila ang kinukuha sa atin. Dapat talaga ay tignan na agad ito ng Kongreso para makita kung totoo ang sinasabi ng mga bangko,” said the progressive solon.

Casiño earlier filed House Resolution 353 directing the Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries to conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation on the reported irregularities attending unjust and unwanted automated teller machine (ATM) transaction fees.

The progressive lawmaker wants to include BPI’s 50% increase in transaction fees and BDO’s recent P2 withdrawal charge in the list of unwarranted fees and charges on approximately 18 million ATM clients in the country who make close to 2 million transactions per day through the three major ATM networks, namely: BancNet Inc., Megalink Inc., and ExpressNet Inc.

“We want the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to explain this increase considering that they are being used by BPI to justify the increase,” he added.

BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. earlier said that banks are free to impose whatever transaction fee they believe compensates them for the delivery of service but stressed such fees should always be transparent.

The BSP also issued an earlier regulatory adjustment discontinuing the practice of compensating the banks with interest income for holding in reserve a portion of their deposits heightened the need to hike the ATM transactions.

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

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