Fees have been waived for bank transfers made via GCash, a mobile wallet by major telco Globe, for months during and after the strict lockdowns of most areas in the Philippines.
Finding face-to-face transactions posing a health risk, Filipinos who used to carry bills and coins around hopped onto the internet to pay bills, shop, withdraw and send money.
The shift in their clients’ behavior prompted banking operations to carry out a quick pivot to online.
The giants of finance—particularly GCash’s partner banks—also heeded the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ request to make these speedy cash exchanges free even as they go through paid automated clearing systems such as InstaPay.
But these technology-aided transactions will only be possible with a charge by October 1, according to notifications GCash sent out to its app users. It is not yet known how much transfers from GCash to bank accounts and vice versa will cost.
The resumption of transfer fees is earlier than what the central bank hoped, having said that InstaPay and PesoNet services mediating the transactions would cost Filipinos nothing until the end of the year.
As it appears, not all banks, which GCash partners, are accommodating the extended benefit.
“It’s because the banks are now charging fees, so I guess all digital platforms have to follow unless these companies are willing to shoulder the costs the banks are charging,” a Reddit user pointed out.
Users hope that the fee is fixed per transfer and will only be minute. “Sana fixed fee (mga 5-10 pesos) per transfer rather that certain % ng amount transferred… pero mas okay na wala na lang fee 😭,” one wrote.
Outside GCash, there are a few banks that chose to waive InstaPay and PesoNet fees for transfers until Dec. 31, 2020. These are:
- EastWest Bank
- Land Bank
- Development Bank of the Philippines
- Asia United Bank
- Security Bank
- Sterling Bank of Asia
- Standard Chartered Bank
- Maybank Philippines
InstaPay allows up to P50,000 in cash transactions and credits them in near real-time, while PesoNet credits fund transfers on the same banking day.