Loading GCash wallets from select bank cards will be charged a convenience fee starting July 6

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 30) – Mobile wallet GCash said a convenience fee worth 2.58 percent will be charged for loading funds from bank cards starting Monday, July 6.

In an advisory to clients, the e-wallet service operated by Globe Telecom said that using the cash-in option in the mobile app to secure funds from bank cards using the Visa and Mastercard platforms – used by all card issuers in the country – will entail additional costs which will be deducted from the source account. This will be on top of the amount that a user wanted to transfer to their GCash wallet. 

The fee represents "direct charges from our payment partners" and will not be part of GCash earnings, the company said. This will be charged on all of these transactions regardless of amount. 

For example, loading ₱100 to your GCash wallet will deduct ₱102.58 from the source account. While a ₱1,000 cash-in will have a ₱25.80 convenience fee.

GCash had 20 million users and more than 63,000 partner merchants as of 2019. With the implementation of a nationwide community quarantine amid the pandemic, GCash reported a 700 percent surge in transactions in May compared to a year ago.

However, depositors from the Bank of the Philippine Islands – another Ayala-led firm – and Union Bank of the Philippines can still link their cards and cash in funds for free. Another way to avoid the extra charges is to transfer money using your bank's own online channels through InstaPay, rather than linking your card through GCash's cash-in feature.

InstaPay transfer fees have been temporarily removed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the central bank encourages digital transfers to minimize contact.

Over-the-counter transactions through pawnshops, payment facilities, 7-Eleven kiosks, or through TouchPay and eTap machines worth more than ₱8,000 are also charged a service fee equivalent to 2 percent of the amount in excess of the monthly limit.

Netizens were not so pleased upon learning about the convenience fee, saying it took away the allure of using the mobile wallet.

"Cost and worth are two very different things. I'm okay with charging convenience fee sa Gcash but I think the 2.58% is too high. So if I cash in P20k that's already P516," user @seekathsmile said, adding it would be better if a fixed rate will be collected instead.

User @ahrtnyeongs, meanwhile, said now could be the wrong time to implement this rule which will add to financial burdens.

"I get the need to add fee, but why implement during quarantine?," she wrote.