KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 28 — Payments Network Malaysia Sdn Bhd (PayNet), the operator of DuitNow QR, has issued a clarification to address the recent concerns reported by several online news sites regarding the imposition of transaction fees for DuitNow QR payments and transactions made with credit cards from November 1.
In its statement today, the company said the news reports in question were “inaccurate”.
“The first type refers to e-payments made by customers to any dealer. This usually has a merchant discount rate (MDR) which is charged based on a percentage of the value of the payment transaction. A merchant will receive payments made by their customers after the MDR has been deducted.
“Currently, debit and credit card payments are subject to MDR, while MDR for QR payments are exempted.
“From October 1, 2023, this MDR waiver for DuitNow QR payments will be withdrawn,” PayNet said.
The company said, on the other hand, the RM0.50 fee for transactions exceeding the specified RM5,000 that was mentioned in news reports was actually in relation to ‘peer-to-peer’ fund transfers from a personal QR to another personal QR, not a payment to the merchant.
“This has absolutely nothing to do with QR payments to the merchant, (as) in the paragraph above, and both fees will not be charged for the same transaction in any situation.
“For the first type of payment mentioned above, the accumulated MDR will be shared between PayNet and related acquiring banks or third-party acquirers.
“It is to cover the maintenance of our network as well as costs borne by the bank and third-party acquirers to acquire merchant participation to enjoy this valuable service,” it said.
The MDR was waived as an incentive to encourage use during the QR payment introduction period in 2019.
PayNet said this waiver was extended due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
“It is neither a new fee nor an additional charge. Instead, October 1, 2023 is the start of the termination of the MDR waiver that should have been done more nine months ago.
“A reserve fund will be created with the MDR collected by PayNet to provide incentives to the acquirers so as not to impose any MDR on small traders.
“Although PayNet is not in a position to determine the market price imposed on merchants, some acquiring banks and third-party acquirers have the desire to either continue to delay the MDR charges or absorb it for small traders.
“In this case, the merchant needs to check with the bank or third-party acquirer for this matter,” PayNet said.
The company added that it is incorrect to state that the RM0.50 charge applies to payments made to merchants, and it is also incorrect to state that MDR is charged for fund transfers using personal QR.
“A charge of RM0.50 is for fund transfers above RM5,000 using QR Personal MoneyNow.
“Regarding concerns that MDR costs will be passed on to consumers, PayNet would like to explain that purchases using credit and debit cards are already subject to MDR.
“Products and services purchased with a credit or debit card are at a price that equal to a cash purchase. Therefore, we expect similarly that there is no expectation for the price of goods and services to be affected by purchases using DuitNow QR after MDR is applied,” PayNet said.
Regarding the claim that transacting in cash is cost-free, PayNet explained that a study by Roubini Thoughtlab in 2018 outlined that this impression is far from accurate because the estimated benefits from non-cash use to business methods far exceeds the cost.
This translated to the cumulative net benefit for 15 years (2017 to 2032) estimated to be around US$4.2 billion (RM19.7 billion) as a result of savings from the reduction of manual work and benefits from e-payments.
“PayNet is compelled to issue this statement as any discussion or dialogue on this matter should be premised on an accurate, correct and fully informed understanding of the facts and how the digital payment industry actually operates,” it said.
*An earlier version of this story contained errors which have since been corrected