By Mario Casayuran
Opposition Senator Francis N. Pangilinan sought Thursday to require banks to post charges for use of automated teller machines (ATMs) and restrict fees imposed on ATM transactions.
Pangilinan made the call after filing Senate Bill 635 or the proposed Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Fee Regulatory Act, that mandates financial institutions to disclose on the ATM screen the total transaction fee or surcharge to be imposed for each transaction prior to its completion.
Because of this advisory, the customer has the option to cancel the transaction after the fee is disclosed, Pangilinan said.
“Banks always make ATM transactions a shocking experience for us because it’s only in the end when knowing how much we are charged. Ano yun? Sisingilin ka para kunin ang pera mo,” he asked. (What’s that? You are being asked to pay for the money you are withdrawing?)
‘’From balance inquiry to withdrawal, a fee is charged. Our countrymen’s salaries are already very low, and still banks charge fees. We can’t do anything because most of us are get our paycheck from the ATM),” he pointed out.
Senators Grace Poe and Risa Hontiveros made similar proposals on ATM fees.
According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), as of October 2012, withdrawal fees can go as high as P100; balance inquiry fees, P10; and, interbank transfer fees, P100.
ATM cardholders may be charged up to P100 without them knowing it.
“This bill seeks to protect ATM cardholders from hidden, surprise, or unreasonable fees,” Pangilinan said.
The bill seeks to promote transparency by requiring all financial institutions to inform cardholders of the charges they incur during ATM transactions.
The measure also proposes several fees restrictions on ATM transactions through the following:
– Cap on Transaction Fees. No ATM transaction fee shall exceed one percent of the total transaction amount.
– Screen display and printed receipt requirement. No customer shall be charged any fee or surcharge by a financial institution for an ATM transaction unless the fee or surcharge is displayed on the screen prior to transaction.
– Mobile phone or telephone transactions. No customer shall be charged any fee or surcharge for any ATM transactions initiated via telephone or mobile phone.
– Single fee per transaction. No customer shall be billed for more than one fee per ATM transaction regardless of the number of financial institutions involved in the transaction.
– Cash dispensing requirement. No customer shall be charged any fee or surcharge for a transaction that did not dispense cash.
Once enacted into law, the BSP and the Department of Finance (DOF) are tasked to come up with the necessary rules and regulations to implement the measure upon enactment into law.