Do the steep bank requirements (and maintaining balance) prevent you from opening an account? That is about to change.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has released a new circular outlining its rules and regulations on basic deposit accounts, a type of savings account with less stringent requirements with the aim of making it more accessible to the 86 percent of Filipino households that are unbanked.
“A basic deposit account refers to [an] interest- or non-interest-bearing account designed to promote financial inclusion,” wrote the BSP in Circular 992, titled Framework for Basic Deposit Accounts. “This account will enable Filipinos, especially the unserved and underserved, to receive and make payments, as well as have a facility for store of value.”
In the circular, the BSP outlined the features that make basic deposit accounts different from regular bank accounts. Its biggest difference is its opening amount of at most Php100, far less than the usual requirement of Php1,000 or more. These accounts also do not have any minimum maintaining balances and dormancy charges, which will allow users to keep small amounts in their accounts if they please.
However, another key difference is that basic deposit accounts have a maximum balance of Php50,000, which if exceeded by the depositor would convert their account to a regular deposit account. In a media release dated January 30, the BSP said that this Php50,000 limit was “to prevent misuse of the basic deposit account.”
The BSP also highlighted that opening these accounts will follow “simplified Know-Your-Customer (KYC) requirements,” which will allow applicants to verify their identities without the multitude of documents or identification required by regular deposit accounts.
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On the banks’ side, the BSP said that their basic deposit account products will have a zero-percent reserve requirement, which enables them to maintain these accounts at lower costs than their regular accounts. The circular also noted that banks are free to customize their products so long as they follow the minimum requirements of a basic deposit account.
“These features meet the need of the unbanked for a low-cost, no-frills deposit account which they can open even if they do not have the standard identification documents,” wrote the BSP in the media release.