Cheque fee rise 'disconcerting'

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 15 Sep 2013

PETALING JAYA: The processing fee for cheques from 15 sen to 50 sen – a 230% increase – is a “penalty adding to the unnecessary cost of doing business”, said the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM).

In a statement, the ACCIM said it found the increase “disconcerting”, adding that over 95% of enterprises in the country were small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which relied on traditional cheques for their transactions.

“This sector is far from being able to adopt the e-payment system because their accounting systems are rarely computerised in the first place. It is necessary to first encourage these enterprises to migrate to computerisation.

“The 50 sen levy will add more than RM100mil to the cost of doing business for no perceived tangible benefits to these enterprises.

Only larger enterprises will derive benefits due to their volume of transactions,” it said.

Bank Negara had recently announced a new pricing structure for e-payment services – the reduction of the transaction fee conducted via Internet and mobile banking to 10 sen from RM2 since May 2, and a 50 sen cheque processing fee from April 1 next year.

The ACCIM said while it believed that e-payment should eventually be adopted as these enterprises grew in size and sophistication, it was premature to enforce the system at the present moment.

However, it proposed for all government departments and agencies to adopt e-payment, pointing out that currently many did not even accept cash or cheques and insisted on bank drafts.

“They should accept cash and cheques and have a firm schedule for the acceptance of e-payment.

“Many have adopted e-payment but not in the true sense as these are merely “pre-payment” systems which requires one to open an account with the agency and have a deposit as a float to be drawn down,” it said.

The body appealed to Bank Negara to defer the implementation of the 50 sen levy on cheques until the public had enough experience with e-payments, especially when dealing with government departments and agencies.

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