BSP says banks can’t hike ATM fees without approval

Robie de Guzman   •   August 13, 2019   •   1146

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Tuesday assured the public that banks’ charges on automated teller machine (ATM) transactions will not be increased without its approval.

In a statement, the BSP said it will examine each request and decide if the adjustment in ATM fees is warranted to cover the cost of maintaining the ATMs.

“Should an increase be necessary in order for banks to continue providing ATM services to the banking public, the BSP will ensure that the increase will be reasonable,” it said, adding that adjustments will adhere to pricing principles provided under BSP Circular No. 980 dated 6 November 2017.

The BSP made the statement after concerns on a possible increase in ATM fees following the lifting of the six-year moratorium in charge hike this year.

Makati Rep. Luis Campos Jr. earlier sought an inquiry into the possible increase in ATM charges amid concerns that banks would jack up charges by as much as 50 percent based on the rates they proposed before the moratorium was implemented in 2013.

READ: House seeks inquiry on looming ATM fee hike

“The BSP assures the public that its policy on ATM fees is guided by best industry practices and that it is driven with the broader welfare of consumers in mind,” it said. 

“Towards this end, the BSP has issued regulations that require banks to adhere to the principles of reasonable and market-based pricing in their ATM operations. As such, banks cannot increase the ATM fee on their own,” it added.

The BSP said that any bank that intends to adjust ATM fees must file a request indicating their proposed fees, as well as the costs currently incurred by the bank with respect to its ATM activities.  

The central bank said the costs declared should be “clear, properly supported,” and maybe validated by the BSP when deemed necessary.

The BSP also disallows the imposition of set fees arising from agreements between market participants.

In any case, the BSP said fees should be lower than the charges collected from transactions made over-the-counter (OTC) and comply with transparency in pricing.

BSP to adopt National QR Code standard for payments

Marje Pelayo   •   October 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is now adopting a National Quick Response (QR) Code Standard for payments.

The BSP, on its website, said the move is in line with the agency’s thrust of ensuring the efficiency of payment systems in support of inclusive economic development in the country.

The National Quick Response (QR) Code Standard, according to BSP, utilizes the QR technology which is considered as the most convenient and cost efficient means of moving funds from one account to another.

Such technology has been effective in other countries as an alternative to the traditional debit and credit cards.

Since a QR code contains most if not all of the critical information required to be specified in a payment instruction, the use of this code minimizes encoding errors, the BSP explained.

Likewise, it is faster and easier to just scan the code than to dip or swipe a card, and sign a charge slip.

To ensure smooth implementation of the Standard, the BSP has set out a period within which the Philippine Payments Management, Inc. (PPMI), the country’s payment system management body, shall inform the Bangko Sentral of the Standard approved by the PPMI Board.

The Payment Service Providers (PSPs), meanwhile, shall adopt the Standard within thirty (30) calendar days from the date of said notification. 

Nevertheless, considering that a number of PSPs have been offering QR-enabled payment services, the policy allows these PSPs to fully comply with the Standard up to 30 June 2020.

The BSP is confident that the adoption of a QR Code Standard on a national scale is expected to bring more Filipinos can enjoy the benefits of a safe, efficient, and inclusive retail payment system.

OFW remittances up by 3.6% in eight months — BSP

Marje Pelayo   •   October 16, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) noted a significant increase in personal remittances of overseas Filipinos workers (OFW) by 3.6% in the past eight months of 2019.

According to a BSP statement released on Tuesday (October 15), remittances from OFWs totaled to US$2.9 billion in August 2019 which is 4.2 percent higher than the US$2.8 billion in August 2018.

This brings OFWs’ personal remittances to US$22 billion which is about US$800,000 increase from last year’s US$21.2 billion.

Specifically, land-based OFWs with work contracts of one year or more, remitted US$16.8 billion from January to August this year, a slight increase from US$16.3 billion in the same period last year.

Meanwhile, inflows of remittances from sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts also contributed US$4.7 billion from US$4.4 billion last year.

The media release further stated that, by country source, the highest share of overall remittances for January to August 2019 was the United States with 37 percent, followed by Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, the UK, Japan, Canada, Hong Kong, Germany, and Kuwait.

The combined remittances from these countries accounted for 78.4 percent of total cash remittances from January to August 2019.

BSP to release new P20 coin in 2020

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Monday announced that the 20-peso coin will be released in circulation in 2020 after its ceremonial launch in December.

In a statement, the BSP said once it is released, the new 20-peso coin will co-exist with the P20 New Generation Currency (NGC) banknotes as legal tender.

The P20 will be gradually removed from circulation through natural attrition, the central bank added.

Citing a study conducted by the University of the Philippines, the BSP noted that the P20 banknote is the most-used denomination for payment so it is easily rendered unfit for circulation and returned for replacement.

“The issuance of a coin in lieu of a banknote is more cost-efficient in terms of currency production in the long run,” the central bank explained.

Official photographs and specifications of the 20-peso NGC coin will be presented by BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno during the launch.

The BSP assured that the new 20-peso coin will retain “major elements” of the bill, and will contain features that are “easily distinguishable” from other coins.

Apart from the new coin, the central bank is also set to release an “enhanced” version of the P5 coin to make it “more distinct from other NGC coin series.

It said the changes were based on studies on the design, security features, and specifications of the new coins.

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