BSP to banks: Nix fees on small transactions

ATM transaction denied

REMOVING transaction fees may fast-track efforts to promote inclusive digital finance to benefit poor Filipinos, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

In his speech at the annual reception for the banking community last Friday, BSP Governor Felipe M. Medalla said a transaction fee worth P15 may still be high, especially for the poor.

The BSP Governor said the banking community as well as the government may be able to “find a cost-sharing system” that will exclude small payments from fees.

“And one way to make it more inclusive, and I’m sure we can work together to achieve it, is if small transactions… will be free of charge so that the poor can also use digital payments. Because if the transaction is small and the fee is P15—it’s quite large relative to the transaction,” Medalla said.

Medalla said this is worth pursuing, provided that transactions are below a certain number or around three transactions per day.

“There is a way of sharing costs. I promise you, the central bank, will be in a greater hurry to cut reserve requirements so you can afford to give those [concessions],” Medalla said by way of stressing his pitch.

Efforts to further digitalization, Medalla said, are under way. InstaPay and PESONet are “great successes” and more people are now using QRs to make payments.

Last week, the BSP launched the use of Paleng-QR Ph Plus in Lapu-Lapu City to allow market vendors there to accept digital payments from their customers.

The Paleng-QR Ph Plus is a nationwide initiative that promotes digital payments in public markets, transportation hubs, and other business establishments.

“We have done great work there (digitalization). The share of digital transactions in total payments has been growing steadily,” Medalla said. “But we should not sit on our laurels. We should achieve more, and we must make digitalization more inclusive.”

Focus on cybersecurity

Medalla also assured the public that the BSP is boosting its cybersecurity to address emerging risks and maintain public trust in the digital financial ecosystem.

He said this is why it is important to address complaints very quickly in case there are unpleasant events that get reported. Part of the BSP’s efforts is the cybersecurity awareness campaign dubbed Check, Protect, and Report (CPR).

The BSP recently partnered with the BAP and the Bank Marketing Association of the Philippines (BMAP) to fight cybercrime through the CPR information drive to foster cyber hygiene among Filipinos.

The “Check” is about being careful when sharing information as legitimate banks and financial institutions (FIs) will only ask for personal data when they are contacted by their clients. (Full story:

The World Economic Forum (WEF) said over 93 percent of cybersecurity experts and 86 percent of business leaders believe “a far-reaching, catastrophic cyber event is likely in the next two years” and there is a critical skills gap that is threatening societies and key infrastructure.

The report highlighted the need to address the shortage of talent and skilled experts. Some 34 percent of cybersecurity experts said they lacked some skills in their team, with 14 percent saying they lacked critical skills.

WEF said the problem is more pronounced in key sectors such as energy utilities, where nearly 25 percent of cybersecurity experts said they lacked the necessary critical skills to protect their organizations’ operations.

Image credits: Maxuser2 |


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