‘Halt banks’ online transaction fees’

As some banks will resume collecting online transaction fees via InstaPay today, Thursday, Senator Francis Pangilinan on Wednesday asked the government to suspend or reduce those fees until the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

“The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas should step in and suspend or slash the online transaction fees during this health emergency,” he said.

Pangilinan noted that the infection numbers are still rising, and that the government should concentrate on ensuring the safety of Filipinos.

“So while COVID hasn’t stopped spreading, it would be better to suspend or lower the collections of online transaction fees,” he said, noting a suspension or lowering of those fees would help the people struggling due to job losses or reduced incomes.

InstaPay is an electronic service that allows the transfer of Philippine peso funds between accounts of participating BSP-supervised banks and non-bank e-money issuers in the country.

Banks initially waived online transaction fees voluntarily. The BSP later urged all entities under its regulation to waive such fees to encourage the public to use online banking to help slow down the spread of COVID-19.

According to the non-government think-tank Infrawatch, some banks will resume collecting such fees on Oct. 1 after suspending it at the start of the pandemic, while others will continue to waive such fees until the end of the year.

“Millions have lost jobs from COVID and the lockdowns. It would be a big help to suspend or lower these transaction fees,” Pangilinan said.

Meanwhile, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on Wednesday said the reported P1,000 banknote bearing the misspelled name of the President is not legal tender.

In a photograph that circulated on the Internet earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte’s middle name was misspelled as “Boa” instead of “Roa.”

“Based on verification by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the 1000-Piso banknote with the alleged misspelled middle name of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte featured in a story in a website is not legal tender,” BSP said in a statement.

It said the serial number shown in the said banknote did not match any of the ones issued by the BSP for the 1000-Piso Enhanced New Generation Currency banknote.

BSP said it will continue to work with its stakeholders including the media in disseminating the correct information on the Philippine currency and in protecting the integrity of banknotes and coins.

The BSP has been intensifying its campaign against currency counterfeiting. In 2019 alone, its drive resulted in the arrest of unscrupulous individuals involved in the illegal activity and confiscation of fake banknotes with a value of P473,500.

It said in a statement seven anti-currency counterfeiting operations were conducted last year in the different parts of the country.

“For 2019, the rate of currency counterfeiting in the country is at 11.8 parts per million banknotes in circulation, lower than the 12.9 PPM registered in 2018,” it said.

“From 2015 to 2019, the BSP has arrested and filed criminal cases against 67 counterfeiters and confiscated various counterfeit currencies and several equipment and paraphernalia used for counterfeiting,” it said.

The BSP has the sole power and authority to issue currency in the Philippines under Republic Act No. 7653, as amended by RA No. 11211 or “An Act Amending Republic Act Number 7653, otherwise known as the “New Central Bank Act’ and for other Purposes.”

The BSP is also vested with police authority to investigate, make arrests, and conduct searches and seizures in accordance with law for the purpose of maintaining the integrity of the Philippine currency.

Topics: COVID-19 pandemic , InstaPay , Francis Pangilinan , Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
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