BNM: Banks To Continue Waiving DuitNow QR Transaction Fee For Small Businesses
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(Image: Digital News Asia)

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has said that major banks and non-bank financial service providers will both continue to waive the DuitNow QR transaction fee for micro and small businesses (MSMEs) that offer this payment method. These financial service providers are currently managing 75% of businesses that accept DuitNow QR payments.

Aside from that, BNM also said that Payments Network Malaysia (PayNet) will find ways to help acquirers (the banks and financial service providers) cover the costs incurred as they continue offering full waivers on the DuitNow QR transaction fee to businesses.

“Together, 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,” said BNM in a statement, reiterating that the public is not required to pay any additional charges for making DuitNow QR payments to merchants.

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(Image: The Malaysian Reserve)

Instead, the transaction fee in question – referred to as the merchant discount rate (MDR) – is a common fee associated with the provision of electronic payment services by acquirers (which is also applicable to debit and credit card payments). In this case, it concerns businesses that accept DuitNow QR payments. The fee is imposed to cover the costs and investments needed by the financial services industry to maintain their payment systems, such as cybersecurity and fraud prevention controls.

“For businesses, any transaction fee imposed on QR payments remains as low as, or lower than, fees imposed on payments using debit cards. Businesses using DuitNow QR as a payment method also do not need to incur recurring costs for point-of-sale (POS) terminal rental for card-based payment channels or additional overhead and administrative costs for handling cash payments,” BNM further explained.

BNM’s statement came following recent media reports that caused a public uproar, stating that several banks have notified their business customers of the implementation of a 0.25% DuitNow QR MDR fee. Other reports, meanwhile, said that transactions above RM5,000 will also incur a 50 sen fee.

PayNet subsequently released a statement to clarify the matter, citing various inaccuracies in the media reports. It also explained that the DuitNow QR MDR has always been part of the fee structure, but was waived for a period to encourage adoption among business owners.

Following this, several banks announced that it will continue to waive the DuitNow QR MDR fee for all merchants that accept payments via DuitNow QR until further notice. These include Maybank, Bank Islam, AmBank, as well as Hong Leong and Hong Leong Islamic Bank.

Meanwhile, the National Action Council on Cost of Living (NACCOL) is set to discuss the matter of the DuitNow QR payment fee in a meeting tomorrow (3 October 2023), to evaluate its impact on the country’s people and digitalisation programmes. It will be chaired by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim – who is also the Finance Minister – and attended by relevant representatives, including BNM.

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