BSP waiving PhilPaSS fees until end-2021

Published December 21, 2020, 5:40 PM

by Lee C. Chipongian

The central bank said there will be no fees for users of its Philippine Payment and Settlement System (PhilPaSS) until end 2021 as part of temporary relief measures to banks during the pandemic.

This is the fourth time that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has extended its PhilPaSS fee suspension since April when major areas in the Philippines were under lockdown. Fund transfer transactions are made through the PhilPaSS, a real time gross settlement system owned by the BSP for the processing and settlement of interbank high value payment transactions through the demand deposit accounts maintained with the BSP.

“To provide further support for the efficient operations of financial institutions and further foster a supportive environment within which BSP-supervised entities can extend improved financial intermediation services to the public and encourage the wider and broader use of digital payments, the temporary waiver of fees of fund transfer transactions made through the PhilPaSS (under the previous BSP memo) is extended until the last business day of year 2021,” according to Memorandum No. M-2020-095 signed by BSP Deputy Governor Maria Almasara Cyd N. Tuano-Amador last December 16.

Tuano-Amador said PhilPaSS users should again “actively disseminate” to the public that automated clearing houses such as InstaPay and PESOnet are available for electronic transfer of funds to “provide Filipinos a wide range of digital payment channels”.

She has said previously that it is critical for financial institutions to continue to be able to effectively provide financial services and promote the digitalization of payment services.

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. (PCHC) transactions, automated tellering machines or ATM transactions and the manual processing of interbank transactions.

Pre-ECQ PhilPaSS fees for interbank transactions are already free for transaction of P100 or less. For the peso-leg of US trades, a P5 fee is charged up to P500,000 transaction value and P10 from P500,001 to P1 million. PCHC transactions before the lockdown is charged P400 for transaction value of P40 million and above, while the peso-leg of government securities transactions and manual interbank transactions have ad valorem fees.