ATM fee hikes can't exceed over-the-counter charges – BSP

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 13)— The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Tuesday reiterated it will thoroughly review any bank’s request for an automated teller machine (ATM) fee hike amid concerns from the public and lawmakers.

“Costs declared should be clear, properly supported, and may be validated by the BSP when deemed necessary,” BSP said in a statement.

“Rest assured that the BSP shall examine each request and decide if the increase is warranted to cover the cost of maintaining the ATMs. Should an increase be necessary in order for banks to continue providing ATM services to the banking public, the BSP will ensure that the increase will be reasonable and will adhere to pricing principles provided under BSP Circular No. 980 dated 6 November 2017,” it added.

The central bank noted that should any increase be approved, the charge must be lower than the fees collected from over-the counter transactions.

The BSP in July announced its decision to lift a six-year moratorium on ATM fees, allowing banks and ATM providers to set new fees for machine-based transactions. Bank proposals, however, should first gain the central bank’s approval.

Makati Representative Luis Campos, Jr., through House Resolution 210, on Monday sought for an inquiry on the looming ATM fee increases following the moratorium’s lifting.

READ: House wants probe on lifting of ATM fee limits

Current fees on cash withdrawals range from ₱10 to ₱15 for big banks, while rural lenders are authorized to charge up to ₱46 per transaction, according to BSP's list. Balance inquiries can also go as high as ₱2.50 per request. These charges are slapped on a cardholder who uses another bank's ATM terminal.

The said fees have remained unchanged since 2013.

“The BSP assures the public that its policy on ATM fees is guided by best industry practices and that it is driven with the broader welfare of consumers in mind,” the BSP added.

CNN Philippines’ Melissa Lopez contributed to this report.