by Mayee Gonzales, on category "Personal Finance"
May 21, 2019
Every day, millions of Filipinos use an ATM to access their savings and checking accounts. With a debit card, or ATM card as most people call it, account holders can withdraw money, check their account balance, and even transfer money to other bank users. All of these activities can be done in a few clicks, making electronic banking more convenient to the public.
However, convenience comes with a price. Most ATM transactions come with ATM service fees to cover a bank’s operational costs. This goes especially for interbank transactions or transactions done outside your personal banking facility.
BPI debit cardholders, for example, can withdraw money from any BPI ATM without charge. Withdrawing from a different ATM (like a BDO or Metrobank facility), however, will charge a certain amount to that person’s account after the transaction.
ATM service fees are comparative and vary from bank to bank. Charges also differ for every transaction. Balance inquiries are typically cheaper than withdrawal transactions as they are deemed simpler compared to the latter.
As a debit cardholder, it is important to know how much your bank charges for every ATM transaction you make. Be smart when it comes to banking. Let this article inform you on the various ATM service fees in the Philippines.
Before we discuss ATM service fees, let us first identify the networks that provide online facilities to banking corporations and debit cardholders in the Philippines. At present, there are three major bank consortia namely Bancnet, Megalink, and Expressnet.
Bancnet is the largest electronic banking network in the country with 114 members and more than 13,000 ATMs nationwide. Founded in 1990, the company is the exclusive gateway of UnionPay, allowing access to nearly 1 billion ATM cardholders from China. Apart from providing service in the Philippines, Bancnet also links with international card networks like Diners Club, Discover Card, KFTC, Mastercard, and VISA.
Before merging with Bancnet in 2015, Megalink was the biggest electronic banking network in the Philippines, handling more than 795,000 transactions per day from over 13 million cardholders. Founded by Equitable Banking Corporation (now BDO) in 1989, Megalink continues to operate as a partner of Bancnet.
Expressnet may not be the largest bank consortium in the country, but it is one of the most accessed thanks to one of its members, BPI Family Savings Bank. Despite its popularity and success, Expressnet merged with Bancnet in 2016, making it the newest partner of the company.
Megalink and Expressnet remain to be separate entities regardless of their partnership with Bancnet. All of these electronic banking networks perform under different agencies, which explains the non-uniform ATM service fees in the country.
Avoid unwanted charges when using an ATM. Here is a list of local ATM service fees in the Philippines.
Note that both charts are according to interbank transactions only.
BDO, Maybank, Metrobank, PNB, RCBC, UCPB and Unionbank charge the highest when it comes to interbank balance inquiries.
All account balance transactions done on its respective ATMs are free of charge, except for RCBC that charges PHP 1 for every ATM balance inquiry.
When it comes to interbank withdrawals, BPI, China Bank, and RCBC charge the highest. All withdrawal transactions done on its respective ATMs are free of charge, expect for RCBC that charges PHP 2 for every ATM withdrawal. For EON debit cardholders, Union Bank charges various fees for every account balance and withdrawal transaction. Click here to learn more about it.
To provide a more holistic understanding of ATM services in the Philippines, here is a list of ATM withdrawal limits of major banks in the country.
In this category, BDO, Landbank, and RCBC are the most lenient when it comes to withdrawal limits.
ATM service fees in the Philippines may seem cheap but multiple interbank transactions can eventually hurt your savings. Be smart when it comes to account balance and withdrawal transactions. If there’s an ATM similar to your bank account, opt for that facility. Other than ensuring the safety of your account, this saves you money as well.