Zero transfer fees extended to December

Published July 13, 2020, 10:00 PM

by Lee C. Chipongian

Eight banks have agreed to suspend the fees on the use of both InstaPay and PESONet until December 31, while another 10 banks will waive the fees only by September this year, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno.

 Diokno identified the members of the Philippine Payments Management Inc. that will not be asking InstaPay and PESONet fees until end-year. These are the two government banks, Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines, and private banks Union Bank of the Philippines, Asia United Bank, Security Bank Corp., Sterling Bank of Asia, Standard Chartered Bank, and Hongkong Shanghai Banking Corp.

 In the meantime, BDO Unibank Inc., Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co., Bank of the Philippine Islands, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., China Banking Corp. and China Bank Savings, Bank of Commerce, Robinsons Bank and Philippine Savings Bank will waive the fees until September 30. Philippine National Bank is also said to be suspending the fees until the end of the third quarter, along with non-banks Paymaya and GXI.

 Diokno said the banks and the payment service providers are waiving the InstaPay and PESONet fees “in response to the call for relief measures that will benefit the general public and at the same time deepen the use of digital payments during the COVID-19 period.”

 “The BSP is actively pushing for the use of digital payments now as part of a safe and convenient payment system. My goal is to have half of all financial transactions — in volume and value — should be in digital form by the end of my term which is mid-year 2023. With the quantum jump in the use of digital payments during the lockdown, I’m confident that this goal would be achieved sooner,” said Diokno.

 Diokno has said that 50 percent of all payments transactions before mid-2023 will be all e-payments and the pandemic has accelerated this timetable.

At the moment, there are 45 financial institutions with InstaPay and 56 that offer PESONet.

In June, the BSP has already extended the suspension of the Philippine Payment and Settlement System (PhilPaSS) fees for the whole of 2020 as part of relief measures for banks.

 Fund transfer transaction fees are made through the PhilPaSS, a real time gross settlement system owned by the BSP, while InstaPay and PESONet are automated clearing houses.

 The BSP suspended PhilPaSS fees on six types of transactions such as interbank, the peso-leg of US dollar trades and government securities trades, Philippine Clearing House Corp. transactions, automated tellering machines or ATM transactions and the manual processing of interbank transactions.  Since the lockdown began last March 17, utilization of InstaPay and PESONet have increased with “exponential growth” and with “considerable improvement.” E-payments through the PESONet and InstaPay services of financial institutions grew by 74 percent and 42 percent in volume and value, respectively, during the lockdown period.