BSP to complete review of ATM fees by yearend
MANILA, Philippines - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) expects to complete its review of automated teller machine (ATM) fees by yearend, a senior official said.
“At least before the yearends, we should have a clear game plan on how we should proceed,” BSP Deputy Governor Nestor A. Espenilla Jr. said.
The BSP blocked banks’ planned increase in ATM fees last September as it said it will first conduct a study to see if such are reasonable.
Espenilla said the central bank since then has been consulting with banks and the switches that provide the networks such as MegaLink, BancNet and ExpressNet.
“We’re trying to understand what are the concerns then at the right time, we’ll come up with something... We have to be patient with these kind of reforms,” he pointed out.
The BSP conducted the study to balance the interests of the banks and the consumers.
The central bank understands banks have to recover their costs on putting up and maintaining their ATMs, while also considering if an ATM fee hike is reasonable for the consumers.
Espenilla said the BSP is looking at promoting cooperation between the switches that provide the infrastructure for the ATM networks to cut costs.
“They have their own policies so we have to see how those can be harmonized,” Espenilla said.
“One way to actually create a win-win situation is to promote sharing and cooperation in the use of the infrastructure,” he added.
Aside from switches, banks also incur additional costs for putting up additional ATM units in order to expand their reach to their customers.
Therefore, the BSP is looking at striking a balance between the operators and the consumers in its conduct of the study.
“You have to balance the equation... there are expenses for running an ATM and they have to be paid for servicing cash withdrawals,” Espenilla recounted.
He noted an ATM unit will need electricity, security, and even disaster recovery measures, among others.
“We have to recognize that. Otherwise, if we don’t get the pricing right... the ATMs may become poorly maintained,” Espenilla said.
Charges when withdrawing on other banks’ ATM units vary from P10 to P15 per transaction. Other fees are applied for balance inquiry.