Bangko Sentral: Banks need our approval to raise ATM fees

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) acknowledged concerns of the public on reports about the possible increase in automated teller machine (ATM) fees, saying that banks cannot increase fees on their own.

The House committee on banks and financial intermediaries is set to investigate a looming 50% increase in ATM fees, following the BSP's decision to lift a freeze order on the matter 6 years ago.

Makati City 2nd District Representative Luis Campos Jr filed a resolution to enable the inquiry.

According to Campos, banks had wanted to jack up ATM charges by as much as 50% before the BSP enforced the standstill in 2013.

Banks currently charge between P10 and P15 per single interbank withdrawal transaction, and P2 per single interbank balance inquiry.

"We are worried that the forthcoming increases in ATM charges might harm consumers – the nation's more than 58 million ATM cardholders," Campos said.

In a statement on Tuesday, August 13, the BSP assured the public that its policy on ATM fees is "guided by best industry practices" and is "driven with the broader welfare of consumers in mind."

The BSP said that if banks intend to raise charges, they should clearly indicate the costs incurred with respect to ATM fees.

"In addition, costs declared should be clear, properly supported, and may be validated by the BSP when deemed necessary. The BSP also disallows the imposition of set fees arising from agreements between market participants," the BSP said. –

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.