More banks waive fees for digital cash transfers

Lawrence Agcaoili - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — More banks have extended free digital cash transfers after the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) waived for the fifth time the fees of fund transactions until the end of next year amid the changing consumer behavior due to the global health pandemic.

Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. (Metrobank) has extended anew the waiver of fees for InstaPay and PESONet transactions until the end of March next year.

“Send money as often as you need, for free.  Waiver of InstaPay and PESONet fees on Metrobank online and the Metrobank mobile app is extended to March 31, 2021,” the bank said in an advisory.

The country’s second largest lender in terms of assets said InstaPay allows clients to do real-time transfers of up to P50,000 daily, while PESONet allows money transfers of up to P200,000 with a 3 p.m. cut-off daily.

Earlier, China Banking Corp. announced it is waiving InstaPay and PESONet fees until March 31 next year instead of only the end of this year.

“Transferring funds to other bank accounts remains free for another three months as China Bank continues to make banking easier and lighter in these challenging times,” China Bank said in an advisory.

The bank owned by the family of the late retail and banking magnate also encouraged clients to safely bank from home during the Christmas and New Year holidays via China Bank Mobile App, China Bank Online, and China Bank Tellerphone.

Aboitiz-led Union Bank of the Philippines has also further waived the fees for InstaPay transactions until March 31 next year, while Yuchengco-led Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) extended the waiver of fees until Jan. 31, 2021.

The BSP has further extended the waiver of fees for fund transactions made through the central bank until the end of 2021, allowing banks and financial institutions to promote digitalization amid the changing economic landscape due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

BSP Deputy Governor Maria Almasara Cyd Tuaño-Amador issued Memorandum No. 2020–095 extending anew the temporary relief measure on the transactions made through the central bank’s Philippine Payment and Settlement System (PhilPaSS) until the last business day of 2021 instead of 2020.

Amador said the extension is intended to provide further support for the efficient operations of financial institutions and 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 BSP first extended the regulatory relief on real time fund transfer system transactions among banks and non-banks under the PhilPaSS last April 1 to 30 via Memorandum No. 2020 – 027.

The measure was extended five times to May 15, then to May 29, to June 11, to the last business day of 2020 and now to the end of 2021.

The central bank has launched a three-year digital payments transformation roadmap wherein BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno committed to convert 50 percent of the total volume and value of retail payments into digital form and expand the number of financial included to 70 percent of Filipino adults by 2023.

The momentum for pursuing digital payments has also been catalyzed by the recent lockdowns brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic with the volume and value of InstaPay and PESONet surging.

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