Make waiver for DuitNow QR payments permanent, says Dr Wee

PETALING JAYA: The waiver for DuitNow QR payments should be made permanent, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

"The profits of the banks are already very high. They should continue the waiver for DuitNow QR users, most of whom are small merchants who would receive cash payments if they did not use DuitNow QR," said Dr Wee in a post on his Facebook account on Thursday (Sept 28).

He added that banks will also benefit from the reduction in cash handling costs if merchants prefer using the DuitNow QR method over cash and said that this waiver is also aligned with the government's digitalisation efforts.

Dr Wee said this in response to a statement from PayNet confirming that while there is a fee for merchants (MDR), a waiver has been granted until Nov1.

"If the media, elected representatives, and merchants didn't make noise and protest yesterday, I am confident that the MDR fee for merchants would have been imposed starting Nov 1 without any due consideration on the part of the banks. We have only heard that CIMB is extending the waiver for two months after 1 November 2023. Congratulations to those who raised their concerns," said Dr Wee.

He added that PayNet or the banks will grant MDR waivers to merchants for DuitNow QR payments under pressure from stakeholders.

"We must continue to apply pressure until this waiver is made permanent," he said.

Earlier, Dr Wee had said that the new DuitNow rate that is reportedly taking effect from Nov 1 is wholly unfair to small businesses or roadside "warung" without card payment facilities.

The MCA president said this would only discourage the growth of cashless payments and disadvantage the smallest and most vulnerable traders and retailers.

"Considering that DuitNow QR recipients (Boost, GrabPay, Setel, and Touch 'n Go) are small businesses or roadside ‘warung’ without card payment machines, this new DuitNow rate is tantamount to discrimination against them and wholly unfair for these small entrepreneurs.

"At a time of rising costs of living made worse by the effects of inflation, we should not be making seemingly trivial decisions that come with ripple effects to burden the rakyat and cause more inconvenience.

"This will discourage the growth of cashless payments and more likely, vastly disadvantage the smallest and most vulnerable of Malaysian traders and retailers," he said in a Facebook post on Wednesday (Sept 27).

He was commenting on portal reports claiming that from Nov 1, a charge of 0.25% would be levied on the amount of DuitNow QR transactions for debit card payments and 0.50% for credit card use.

Currently, there is no charge for DuitNow QR transactions under RM5,000 and a fee of 50 sen for transactions above RM5,000.

Dr Wee said the 0.25% fee is significantly higher compared to the fees for using a local or international debit card.

"The domestic debit card fee is 0.10% of the transaction amount or RM0.37 + 0.001% of the transaction value (whichever is lower).

"The international debit card fee, meanwhile, is 0.27% of the transaction amount or RM0.63 + 0.001% of the transaction amount (whichever is lower)," he wrote.

"If all this is true and comes to pass, the government must tell us how they are prepared for the repercussions on Malaysians?

"Will it absorb the costs for SMEs and small businesses or at this point of time, do away with the interchange fee adjustment under BNM (Bank Negara Malaysia)?" he said.

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