Pune: Shopkeepers are levying a surcharge on card payment from customers even as health professionals and government authorities are promoting cashless payments to avoid handling of currency notes during the Covid-19 outbreak.
If you pay by debit or credit card, you are usually charged an extra two per cent or a certain amount. Currently, in the Covid-19 crisis time, most of us do transactions with a debit card instead of cash. Customers try to convince the shopkeepers to not take any extra amount for card transactions, but traders are citing their own ‘policy decision’ to justify this overcharging. If you pay the bill with Rupay Debit Card or Unified Payment Interface (UPI) like Bhim App or similar method, there is no need to pay any additional fee to the seller.
Additional charges are levied while paying the bill after any purchase. Since the amount is usually small, an individual customer does not bother paying that amount, but this fee is being illegally collected from everyone. This is because the seller has to pay a fee for each transaction (swipe) while using the swipe machine. The Reserve Bank has reduced this fee, but in order to recover it, the shopkeepers are burdening the customers which is illegal, experts say.
Chartered Accountant Yashwant Kasar said, “For the swipe machine service, the seller has to pay a specific fee to the bank for each transaction (swipe). It is also very low, about 0.4 to 0.75 per cent. But as per RBI rules, if the customer pays the bill through RuPay card or Bhim app or any UPI, the seller does not have to pay any fee to the bank. Therefore, if the customer pays the bill through this card or UPI, the seller cannot charge extra for it. However, if they are asking for extra charges, customers should tell them the rules.”
“Although the seller has to pay a fee to the bank for the swipe machine service, the Reserve Bank has not issued instructions to recover it from the customer. Some sellers do not charge a fee based on the profit they make. But small traders charge. For this, customers should use the Rupay Debit Card and Bhim app, so they will not have to pay extra,” said Yashwant Kasar.