Banks should consider making online money transfers free of charge during the COVID surge to help ease the financial burden of online transactions on the public, a head of the Senate Committee on Banks said Wednesday.
Commercial banks have gradually reimposed transfer fees for InstaPay and PESONet transactions towards the end of 2021, after waiving the fees for most of 2020 and early last year.
People will most likely resort to electronic banking to lessen face-to-face interactions as most bank branches either shortened their operating hours or temporarily closed due to their employees contracting COVID-19, said Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian.
"While most are currently burdened with expenses brought about by medicines, COVID-19 testing fees and hospitalization, a fee-less money transfer service and payment transaction can also be a temporary relief measure to the public," he said.
So far, only GrabPay has extended free online transfers until March 31, 2022.
Extending free online money transfers will help less the queuing in payment and cash transactions, Gatchalian said.
"Dahil dito, maeengganyo pa natin ang ating mga kababayan na manatili na lang sa kanilang mga tahanan at idaan na lang ang transaksyon sa pamamagitan ng online. Mas mapapabilis na ang serbisyo, makakaiwas pa sa sakit," he said..
InstaPay transactions are credited immediately and cover amounts of up to P50,000 daily while PESONet is for transaction amounts higher than P50,000. PESONet will require several days to reflect on accounts, depending on each bank's processing time.