NEW DELHI: In an attempt to promote cashless transactions in the country, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has given banks the freedom to fix bank service charges for transactions, stated Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, in Lok Sabha on Friday.
RBI has deregulated interest rates on credit card dues. Interest rates are determined by banks with the approval of their respective Board of Directors subject to regulatory guidelines on the interest rate on advances issued by RBI from time to time. RBI does not maintain information on the rate of commission charged.
National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has approved a scheme for giving 0.5 percent incentive on payments made through the Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) to merchants.
With regards to debit card transactions on PoS devices, between January 1 and March 31, 2017, Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) has been capped at 0.25 percent for transaction value up to Rs. 1,000, and for debit card transactions value between Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 2,000, MDR has been capped at 0.5 percent.
RBI has decided that till March 3, 2017, banks and prepaid payment instrument issuers shall not levy any charges on customers for transactions up to Rs. 1,000 settled on Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) and Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
Further, Government has issued a direction in public interest to all public sector banks not to charge fees for transactions settled on IMPS and UPI in excess of rates charged for National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) for transactions above Rs. 1,000, with service tax being charged at actual; for USSD transactions till March 3, 2017, above Rs. 1,000, a further 50paise discount is provided.
NPCI has waived switching fees for RuPay Card transactions (both for PoS and e-commerce), IMPS, UPI, National Unified USSD Platform (NUUP) and AEPS, with effect from January 1 to March 31, 2017.
Credit card, debit card, charge card and other payment card services by banks have been exempted from payment of service tax for transactions of up to Rs. 2,000. The government has introduced Lucky Grahak Yojana for customers and Digi Dhan Yojana for merchants to promote means of cashless transactions.
In terms of Office of Controller General of Accounts Office Memorandum dated December 14, 2016, the applicable Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) charges on debit cards for payment up to Rs. 1, 00,000 shall be absorbed by the Government.
In terms of Department of Public Enterprises letter dated December 9, 2016, all Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) are required to ensure that transaction fees, MDR charges associated with payment through digital means shall not be passed on to the consumers and all such expenses shall be borne by CPSEs.
RBI has also cautioned the users, holders and traders of Virtual Currencies (VCs), including Bitcoins about the potential financial, operational, legal customer protection and security related risks that they are exposing themselves to. The creation, trading or usage of VCs including Bitcoins, as a medium for payment have not been authorised by the Reserve Bank of India.