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September 14, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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The Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) has resolved to uphold the “No Surcharge Rule” for credit and debit card payments.

The decision follows a spate of complaints and subsequent investigations the RBF found that the application of the “No Surcharge Rule” on card based transactions was uncertain and inconsistent.

The Central Bank in a statement said it has issued the regulatory stance using its general powers under the Banking Act 1995 and the Payments and Settlements Systems Oversight Regulations 2004.

However in due course, this stance will be captured in Payment System laws that are currently being drafted to ensure appropriate oversight and regulation of payment systems for safety, security, and efficiency.

This regulatory stance extends to all merchants and all cards used in Fiji and will be effective from November 1, 2012.

RBF confirmed that all acquiring banks and their merchants must cease levying an additional charge on their customers who make payments through debit or credit cards.

Governor Barry Whiteside stressed that the rule is already in place as stipulated by major credit card providers in agreements with banks and contained in agreements between banks and merchants.

Whiteside said that from a payment system perspective, it is imperative that efficiency be promoted and surcharging practices run counter to this.

All customers are advised to only pay the advertised price for an item or service offered by a merchant or report to the bank concerned or the Reserve Bank if the bank violating this regulatory stance.

Whiteside called on all licensed banks in Fiji to step up their awareness programs in educating their merchants of the benefits.

As an extension of this stance, the Reserve Bank will review the “Merchant Service Fee” charged by the banks to the merchants with a view to assuring transparency and equity in pricing across merchants.

By Ropate Valemei

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