All banks should offer ATM theft insurance

By on October 7, 2014

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MANILA — The House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries is now in receipt of HB 5036 or “The ATM Theft Insurance Act of 2014” proposed by Rep. Roman T. Romulo of Pasig City.

“The rampancy of incidents of the so-called card-skimming, where hundreds of millions of pesos are lost by bank customers to syndicates involved in the duplication of cards and acquiring the personal identification numbers (PIN) of unsuspecting ATM cardholders, is now alarming,” Romulo said.

HB 5036 is “An Act mandating all banking institutions to offer Automated Teller Machine Theft (ATM) Insurance to all clients, prohibiting fraudulent claims relative thereto, providing penalties and for other purposes.”

“This would provide relief to customers whose funds were withdrawn without their knowledge by means of card-skimming and so as victims of hold-ups won’t need to gamble their personal safety,” Romulo said.

He noted an increasing number of incidents of card holders being brought to nearby ATM and forced to withdraw money at gunpoint.

“Sadly, common victims are employees whose hard earned salaries are deposited by their employers to their individual ATM accounts or students who are away from their families and receive their allowances or tuition fees through ATMs,” he said.

Romulo noted that the banking industry, among others, has taken advantage of modern technology in order to offer their services in a more convenient and simplified manner.

“However, technology has also paved the way for the proliferation of mechanisms or devices that allow access to data relevant to bank customers’ account,” the authors said.

He also pointed out that, without a related law, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) could only leave the matter to the discretion of the individual banking institutions whether to refund the victims of ATM fraud.

Appealing for the enactment of the measure, the author said “it is best if all banking institution would offer an insurance that would cover the aforementioned circumstances.”

Expressing optimism, Romulo noted that “this service (insurance) is already being enjoyed by the millions of clients of the Philippine National Bank (PNB), the first and only bank in the Philippines that presently offer this kind of insurance.”

“Our banking institutions are required to ensure not only the safety of the funds deposited, but also the safety of the persons of their clients. As such, it is highly necessary to mandate all of them to offer said insurance services to all of their clients,” Romulo said.