KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 — Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has today announced that major banks and some financial service providers — which handle 75 per cent of businesses that accept DuitNow QR payments — will continue to waive the fee for the service.
After the issue was brought up by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, it also said that DuitNow QR operator Payments Network Malaysia Sdn Bhd (PayNet) will cover the costs incurred by these banks or financial institutions that continue to offer full waivers to micro and small businesses that use the service.
“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.
“BNM 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,” it said in a statement here.
The central bank also assured the public that no additional charges will be imposed on individual customers to use the DuitNow QR services.
BNM also said that any transaction fee for business would not be any higher than the one imposed on debit card payments.
“DuitNow QR remains an affordable and cost-effective payment method. For individual customers, the usage of DuitNow QR to make payments will not attract any additional charges,” it said.
“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 POS terminal rental for card-based payment channels or additional overhead and administrative costs for handling cash payments.”
BNM explained that the return of the fee called Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) from October 1 is intended to cover costs and investments for the industry to maintain the system, including cybersecurity and fraud prevention controls.
The MDR is a common fee associated with electronic payment services and is charged based on a percentage of the payment transaction value to cover processing costs. Debit and credit card transactions are also subject to MDR.
Earlier today, Anwar who is also finance minister, said he had met BNM Governor Datuk Shaik Abdul Rasheed Abdul Ghaffour yesterday to get clarification on the matter.
Yesterday, Payments Network Malaysia Sdn Bhd (PayNet) confirmed that a transaction fee will be imposed on vendors for payments received through the DuitNow QR platform and transactions conducted with credit cards effective November 1, 2023.
However, the 50 sen fee will be charged for transactions exceeding RM5,000 involving peer-to-peer fund transfers from one personal QR to another personal QR, not payments to merchants.
In response, the Small and Medium Enterprises Association (Samenta) urged PayNet to reconsider the matter, conceding that merchants have now no alternative but to utilise DuitNow after having invested considerable amounts of time and resources to encourage customers to pay via a single QR code system — making this new move feel like a “betrayal”.