Cards as good as cash

11 August 2019 | Banking

The Bankers Association of Namibia has learned that some merchants continue to add a surcharge (additional fee) to card transactions or are setting minimum or maximum transaction amounts as a condition for accepting debit or credit cards for payment.

Such practices have a negative impact on consumers and are in direct violation of VISA International and MasterCard operating regulations. Acquirers and merchants must comply with all card operating rules and regulations to protect the integrity of the payment systems.

Merchants are required to:

• Treat all debit and credit card payments like any other method of payment without additional costs added to the value.

• Honour valid debit and credit cards regardless of the dollar amount of the purchase.

Acquiring banks are reminded to ensure:

• Merchants do not differentiate methods of payments by imposing a surcharge fee on any card payments.

• Merchants do not impose a minimum or maximum purchase amount for the acceptance of card ­transactions.

“Carrying around large amounts of cash poses a risk to the individual,” says BAN chairperson Sarel van Zyl. “With a debit or credit card, you can pay for goods and services in a safe and secure manner. Cards also offer a fast and convenient way to shop. Penalising consumers for using payment cards is not only in contravention of card operating rules, but also unfairly shifts the cost of electronic payments onto the consumer.”

The public is encouraged to report any non-compliance with this notice to the Payments Association of Namibia (PAN). If PAN becomes aware of a merchant's non-compliance with any operating rules and regulations, PAN may notify the acquirer of such non-compliance and the acquirer must promptly ensure the merchant discontinues the non-compliance practice immediately.

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