Govt scraps surcharge, service fee on card payments

RSTV Bureau
File Photo: The move will create digital records of payments and check evasion of tax avoidance.

File Photo: Arun Jaitley with Jayant Sinha. The move will create digital record of payments and check the practice of tax avoidance.

In an important decision, the government today approved withdrawal of surcharge, service charge and convenience fee on the card payments  and digital payments. The move is aimed at discouraging the cash transactions  and use of instruments like cheques and drafts and create digital records of transactions.

The Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi also approved mandating payments beyond a prescribed threshold only through a card or digital mode.

“The essential features of the proposals for promotion of payments through cards and digital means include steps for withdrawal of surcharge, service charge and convenience fee on card and digital payments currently imposed by various government departments, organisations…,” according to an official statement.

“The promotion of payments through cards and digital means will be instrumental in reducing tax avoidance, migration of government payments and collections to cashless mode,” it added.

The move primarily discourages transactions in cash by providing access to financial payment services to citizens to pay through cards and digital means and shifting payment ecosystem from cash dominated to non-cash or less cash payments, the statement said.

Among other measures aimed at reducing cash transactions include rationalisation of Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) on card transactions and a differentiated MDR framework for some key segments.

Other features include introduction of formula-linked acceptance infrastructure by the stakeholders of certain card products, rationalisation of telecom service charges for digital financial transactions and promotion of mobile banking.

Creation of necessary assurance mechanisms for quick resolution of fraudulent transactions and reviewing the payments ecosystem in the country have also been approved.