Landbank extends free transfer fees for P1,000 and below

By: ManilaBulletin
Source: manilabulletin

Government-controlled Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) on Wednesday, Jan. 17, said it will continue to waive transfer fees for transactions amounting to P1,000 and below in 2024.

Landbank President and CEO Lynette V. Ortiz said in a statement that waiving the fees will increase the volume of small-value online transactions. This will help the central bank achieve its goal of shifting about half or 50 percent of all payment transactions into e-payments.

“We are extending our waiving of fees for small-value online fund transfers to encourage more clients to embrace cashless transactions, in support of the National Government’s thrust of building a cash-lite economy,” said Ortiz.

She added that “beyond the convenience of free fund transfers” financial customers can tap the bank’s digital platforms for bills payment, cardless withdrawal, and opening of additional deposit account.

While Landbank – the country’s second biggest bank — will continue to waive fees for fund transfers to other banks via InstaPay and PESONet for transactions worth P1,000 and below, it did not say until when they will provide the free service. It clarified though that the free online fund transfers is only valid for the first three transactions in a single banking day through the LANDBANK Mobile Banking App and via the iAccess, its online retail banking channel.

“For interbank fund transfers amounting to more than P1,000, a lowered fixed transaction fee of P15 from the previous rate of P25 will be applied,” said the bank.

Meanwhile, the bank assured that fund transfers between Landbank and Overseas Filipino Bank or OFBank accounts, regardless of the amount, will remain free-of-charge until further notice.

There were four big banks that have waived fund transfer fees below P1,000. Besides Landbank, Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands, the Ty-controlled Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co., and the Aboitiz-owned Union Bank of the Philippines have also waived their fund transfer fees for small-value transactions.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Eli M. Remolona Jr. has been urging all banks especially big banks to waive transfer fees on small online transactions.

The BSP is also talking to non-banks with digital payments such as GCash and Maya, formerly PayMaya.

Last month, the BSP announced that it will continue to impose a cap on interbank money transfer fees by InstaPay and PESONet and bans an increase in fees until such time when all banks and non-banks implement zero rates on small e-payment transactions. InstaPay is a real-time, low-value digital payments facility that substitutes for cash transactions. PESONet is a batch electronic funds transfer service that provides a viable alternative for checks and recurring payments.

The BSP first imposed a moratorium on the automated clearing houses’ fees on Dec. 28, 2021, and ordered all BSP supervised financial institutions with InstaPay and PESONet to not increase their current fund transfer fees until 40 percent of all retail payments have migrated into digital or e-payments.

As of end-December 2022, 42.1 percent of all payment transactions have shifted to digital form. The BSP is aiming to bring that level to 50 percent by the end of 2023. The latest data on e-payments is expected to be released this quarter. The BSP said that subject to a review, the moratorium on InstaPay and PESONet fees will only be lifted “when zero fees for small e-payment transactions have been implemented by the payments industry.”

Since 2022, the BSP – using moral suasion — has been in talks with the payments industry to “ower or eliminate fees imposed on small e-payments but it seems banks and non-banks have not yet reached an agreement with the central bank as of end-2023.