AUTOMATED teller machine (ATM) density in the country is only half of that of its Southeast Asian peers, according to the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP). In a statement on Monday, the lead organization of universal and commercial banks in the Philippines estimated that only 21,000 ATMs service 58 million cardholders nationwide, equivalent to 20 ATMs per capita of 100,000 cardholders. Meanwhile, countries such as Thailand has 94, Singapore has 49, Malaysia has 45, and Indonesia has 40 ATMs per capita of 100,000 cardholders, respectively. According to the BAP, the moratorium on ATM transaction fees since 2013 has held back banks’ optimal performance in servicing and expanding their reach. “The number of cardholders has been increasing for the past six years. Banks need to keep up with the maintenance and innovation of ATMs, as well as expansion of ATM network to accommodate the surge of ATM usage,” BAP Managing Director Benjamin Castillo said. The BAP said the annual growth rate in ATM deployments averaged at 13 percent prior to 2013, but since then declined to 6.4 percent, while ATM transaction volume continued to increase from 2014 onward.