BSP to start charging PhilPaSSplus fees

Banks’ interbank high-value payment transactions via the central bank’s real time gross settlement (RTGS) system will be charged with the same pre-pandemic fees ranging from P5 to P400 beginning on Feb. 1.

With the resumption of fees, financial consumers using electronic payment services such as InstaPay, PESONet, and QRPh may pay higher fees as well.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has waived the RTGS fees, which is the Philippine Payment and Settlement System or PhilPaSSplus, since April 2020 as part of its time-bound relief measures to banks during the pandemic.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) logo as displayed at the BSP headquarter's "backdoor" entrance (Manila Bulletin photo).

The suspension of the fees on fund transfers for users of PhilPaSSplus will expire on Jan. 31, or Tuesday this coming week.

In a BSP memo (Memorandum No. M-2023-002), issued Friday, Jan. 27, and signed by BSP Managing Director Mary Anne P. Lim who is the chairperson of the Real Time Gross Settlement Management Committee, the resumption of the collection of settlement fees and other charges will be based on a new pricing structure.

Based on the released pricing structure, interbank fund transfers of P10,000 to P500,000 will again be charged P5 while transactions of P500,000 to P1 million will pay P10. Transactions of P1 million to P40 million is charged P400. Meanwhile, fee-exempt settlements are those below P10,000.

The pricing structure includes the recently created or redefined Financial Market Infrastructures (FMls) and Clearing Switch Operators (CSOs) which are the peso-leg of the peso-US dollar trades, government security trades, corporate security trades, check clearing transactions, ATM network transactions, as well as InstaPay and PESONet transactions.

Pre-pandemic, PhilPaSSplus fees for interbank transactions were free for transaction of P100 or less. For the peso-leg of US trades a P5 fee was charged up to P500,000 transaction value and P10 from P500,000 to P1 million. The pricing structure however included the P400 for larger volumes of up P40 million.

Because of the suspended fees, the BSP’s revenues from PhilPaSSplus declined by 74.3 percent as of end-September 2022 from end-June.

Based on end-third quarter figures, the total number of PhilPaSSplus transactions reached 363,277 or 5.5 percent higher than the previous quarter’s 344,330 transactions.

In value terms, PhilPaSSplus transactions as of end-September last year totaled P128.3 trillion, up by 5.4 percent from P121.7 trillion end-June.