Charge on DuitNow QR payments will burden SME sector, says group

KUALA LUMPUR: The merchant discount rate (MDR) charge to be imposed on merchants for payment received via DuitNow has come as a huge surprise to small and medium enterprises.

Small and Medium Enterprises Association (Samenta) president Datuk William Ng said while the association appreciates that the MDR or commission has been in the fine print all along, it still seemed arbitrary on the part of Payments Network Malaysia Sdn Bhd (PayNet) and the acquiring banks to impose a charge of up to 0.5%.

"We must realise that PayNet is essentially a monopoly and merchants have no choice but to use Duitnow after investing considerable time and resources to encourage customers to pay via a single QR," he said in a statement on Thursday (Sept 28).

ALSO READ: Make waiver for DuitNow QR payments permanent, says Dr Wee

Ng said over the past few years, the association had been actively encouraging SMEs, especially in the retail and food and beverage sector, to rapidly digitalise and accept ewallet payments.

He said the move to impose MDR felt like a betrayal on the part of Duitnow.

The association urged PayNet and acquiring banks to consider charging a lower rate than the 0.25% and 0.5% proposed.

Ng said going cashless benefitted everyone, including banks, as it reduced the risks and costs associated with handling cash.

"Otherwise we foresee merchants only accepting ewallet or Duitnow payments above a certain (sum) or worse, going back to only accepting cash – reversing all the gains we have made in pushing the industry to go cashless," he added.

In a statement earlier, PayNet confirmed that merchants will be charged a transaction fee for payments received via the DuitNow QR code platform from Nov 1.

It said two different epayment types have been described by the media as the same: the merchant discount rate (MDR) and the 50 sen fee for transactions exceeding RM5,000.

It said debit and credit card payments are subject to MDR, while there had been an MDR waiver for QR payments.

"Starting Nov 1, the MDR waiver for DuitNow QR payments will be lifted,” the PayNet statement said.

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