Lawmakers To Make An Inquiry On The Looming ATM Fee Hike
The six-year moratorium on ATM fee increase will soon be lifted, and as a result, the ATM withdrawal fee hike might follow. The moratorium has imposed banks to retain an affordable ATM charge since 2013. With the lifting of the moratorium, the fees could jump to ₱30 for interbank withdrawal or even higher.
According to Makati Rep. Luis Campos Jr., banks have been wanting to jack up their ATM charges by as much as 50 percent before, based on the rates they had proposed to charge before the moratorium took effect in 2013.
Luckily, it’s not just the consumers that are wary about this, the lifting of the freeze also stoked concerns among lawmakers that banks would impose as much as a 50-percent hike on ATM fees. The House of Representatives is poised to look into the looming increase in the fee for withdrawing cash from automated teller machines (ATM) as a result of the lifting of the six-year moratorium on ATM fee increases.
In an interview, Carlos emphasized that it’s the minimum wage earners that will feel the brunt of the increase, in a statement he said:
“Even more vulnerable are our estimated 4.1 million minimum wage earners. Many of them receive and withdraw their salaries twice a month through their ATM cards at the machine nearest them.”
The increase in ATM fees would equate to increased earnings for banks. In fact, in the first half of the year alone, banks have racked up ₱110 billion in profits, 26 percent higher than what they were earning in the same period last year, according to preliminary data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
On the strength of Campos’ proposed House Resolution No. 210, the House committee on banks and financial intermediaries will hold an inquiry on the BSP’s memorandum lifting the moratorium on ATM fees. In his resolution, he noted that “a virtual monopoly in the network that interconnects all of the country’s 21,682 ATMs.”
“In this case, we are clearly compelled under the Consumer Act, or Republic Act No. 7394, to conduct an inquiry so as to safeguard the rights of ATM users,” Campos added.