Malaysian Central Bank said last Friday that micro and small businesses in Malaysia will continue to enjoy zero-cost transactions DuitNow QR payments, and no new costs for individual customers.

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) said in a statement that the bank would like to address concerns over the imposition of a transaction fee by some acquirers on businesses that accept DuitNow QR payments from 1 October 2023, following the end of a temporary fee waiver introduced in 2019.

The transaction fee applicable for business merchants is known as the merchant discount rate (MDR), which is a common fee associated with the provision of electronic payment services.

It is charged based on a percentage of the payment transaction value to cover processing costs. A business merchant would receive the payment made by their customers after deducting the MDR. Currently, debit and credit card payments also incur MDRs.

According to the bank, the transaction fee is intended to cover costs and investments needed by the industry to upkeep their payment systems, including cybersecurity and fraud prevention controls, in order to maintain the high service and security standards for payment services.

The bank said that DuitNow QR remains an affordable and cost-effective payment method.

For individual customers, it said the usage of DuitNow QR to make payments will not attract any additional charges.

For businesses, it said any transaction fee imposed on QR payments remains as low as, or lower than, fees imposed on payments using debit cards.

It also said businesses using DuitNow QR as a payment method also do not need to incur recurring costs for POS terminal rental for card-based payment channels or additional overhead and administrative costs for handling cash payments.

It said the industry will take measures to minimize the potential impact of transaction fees on small businesses.

According to the statement, major banks and selected non-bank financial service providers, who manage 75 percent of businesses currently accepting DuitNow QR payments, have announced that they will continue to waive the transaction fee for micro and small businesses accepting DuitNow QR payments.

In addition, it said Payments Network Malaysia Sdn Bhd (PayNet), the operator of DuitNow QR, will allocate resources to help defray the costs incurred by acquirers that continue to offer full waivers to micro and small businesses accepting DuitNow QR payments.

Together, it said these measures will enable micro and small businesses to continue to enjoy DuitNow QR payment services at zero cost, while ensuring that QR payment services remain efficient, reliable, and safe for all consumers.

BNM emphasized that the bank remains fully committed to supporting the widespread adoption of digital payments in Malaysia through a vibrant, secure, and inclusive payment ecosystem that is also sustainable over the long term.

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