Card fees for small merchants likely to be cut by RBI

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) proposed to drastically cut merchant discount rate (MDR) charges on debit card payments from April 1, with a view to maintain momentum of digital transactions post demonetisation, especially among small merchants. For small merchants with annual turnover of Rs20 lakh and special category merchants, like utilities, insurance, mutual funds, educational institutions and government hospitals, the MDR charge has been proposed at 0.40% of the transaction value.
 
The MDR charge would be even less at 0.3% if the transaction is through digital point of sale (PoS), the RBI said in a draft circular on rationalisation of MDR for debit card transactions. The existing MDR is capped at 0.75% for transactions up to Rs2,000 and 1% for over Rs2,000. However, there is no RBI cap on MDR on credit card payments.
 
Post-demonetisation, the RBI has reduced the charge till March 31. The new charges, as per the RBI draft would come into effect from April 1. The draft also proposes that banks will ensure that all merchants display the signage: “No convenience or service charge is payable by customers“.
 
“Recent developments, including the commitment to greater adoption of digital payments by the government, have given a big boost to migration to non-cash forms of payments. There has been an increase in card transactions (other than at ATMs), and the momentum has to be maintained especially amongst small merchants, who have just begun to accept digital payments,” the RBI said while seeking comments on the draft till an end of this month.

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