SENATORIAL candidate Neri J. Colmenares urged banks and other payment channels to reduce fees for interbank machine and online transactions to help ease the burden of consumers amid the pandemic.  

“The dramatic increase in e-commerce during the pandemic have increased the profits from online charges even as the sheer increase in the magnitude of transactions tend to make the cost per transaction lower,” Mr. Colmenares, Bayan Muna chair and a former congressional representative of the progressive party-list said.   

He said on Thursday that while consumers had to resort more to shopping online due to the pandemic, they have had to pay fees from P15 to as high as P50 per transaction.  

He also cited Philippine Payment and Settlement System data from the central bank for the second quarter of 2021, which shows a 40.98% and 55.38% increase for PESONet and InstaPay transactions, respectively, compared to the same period last year.  

He also called on Congress to approve House Bill 4019 or the ATM Fee Regulation Act, which would impose a standard rate of up to P5 for interbank transactions, including those using online payment channels such as GCash and Paymaya.    

“The same principle should be applied to fees charged by money remittance outfits especially at this time when every peso counts for our people,” Mr. Colmenares said.  

The measure is pending at the House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries. — Russell Louis C. Ku