Some banks to resume charging fees for interbank fund transfers by October 1

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 24) — Select banks will resume fees for interbank fund transfers starting October, ending months of waived charges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In separate advisories, BDO Unibank, Bank of the Philippine Islands, and GCash said they will restore fees charged for sending money to a deposit account under a different bank, which is done through online and mobile platforms. 

There are two ways to transfer funds to other banks: InstaPay, which allows real-time crediting of money transfers worth ₱50,000 or lower; and via PESONet or the Philippine EFT System and Operations Network, which assured same-day credit of fund transfers of bigger amounts.

The following charges for each InstaPay or PESONet transaction will take effect by October 1, 2020, according to a list from the Philippine Payments Management Inc. or PPMI and separate bank advisories:

- BDO: ₱25 (InstaPay)

- BPI: ₱50

​In an advisory on its website, e-wallet GCash said it will begin charging ₱15 for "send to bank" transactions by November 1, a month later than scheduled. PayMaya and MUFG Bank will also waive fees until end-October, according to the central bank. 

Most banks waived interbank fees starting mid-March as the country went under lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bank branches have since reopened nationwide but at shorter business hours, which also meant an earlier cut-off time for processing same-day PESONet transfers.

RELATED: BSP requires banks, financial firms to offer 60-day grace period for loan payments

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno earlier waived the transaction fees collected by the central bank from banks for processing such transactions, as he hopes to encourage these financial firms to temporarily stop charging depositors during the lockdown period.

Digital transactions are encouraged to limit human contact and possible coronavirus transmissions.

Meanwhile, here are other banks which will keep transfer charges waived, according to a list published on the BSP and PPMI websites and latest available bank announcements.

Until December 31, 2020:

- AllBank

- Asia United Bank

- Bank of Commerce

- Cebuana Lhuillier Rural Bank

- Citibank (for individual clients, corporate accounts will be charged by Oct. 1)

- CTBC Bank (Philippines) Corporation

- DCPay (for retail clients)

- Development Bank of the Philippines

- EastWest Bank

- Equicom Savings Bank

- HSBC Savings Bank

- Land Bank of the Philippines

- Maybank Philippines (for retail clients)

- Metrobank

- Philippine Bank of Communications: ₱1 via online portal

- Philippine Business Bank

- Philippine National Bank

- Philippine Savings Bank

- Philippine Veterans Bank

- Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.

- Robinsons Bank Corp. 

- Rural Bank of Guinobatan

- Security Bank Corporation

- Standard Chartered Bank

- Sterling Bank of Asia

- The Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation - fees for corporate accounts reduced to ₱50

- Union Bank of the Philippines

- United Coconut Planters Bank

Until further notice:

- Bank of China

- Bank of Florida

- BPI Direct BanKo

- China Bank

- China Bank Savings

- CIMB Bank Philippines

- ING Bank N.V. Manila Branch

- JP Morgan Chase Bank

- Philippine Trust Company

Antonio Moncupa, vice president of Bankers Association of the Philippines and CEO of EastWest Bank, told CNN Philippines that this is one of the ways which banks have come up with to help alleviate the difficulties experienced by Filipinos during this pandemic.

Moncupa clarified, however, that the waived fees only apply to InstaPay and PESONet transfers and do not cover other areas, including credit card fees and interest. He said banks still have to pay depositors and recover costs of their other expenses, as he explained that not all fees can be dropped amid the crisis.

"Kasi ang pagbabangko, this is the heart that pumps the blood to the economy," he said. "Dito nanggagaling yung death capital na tinatawag natin para mapondohan natin 'yung mga negosyo na magki-create ng employment, which is also [why it is] important that we protect it."

[Translation: Banks are the heart that pumps the blood to the economy. These are the sources of the so-called debt capital that fund our businesses and create employment, which is also why it is important that we protect it.]

This list will be regularly updated, please stay tuned.