Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday said neither the customers nor petrol pump dealers will bear additional charges on digital transactions at petrol stations. He said petrol pumps will continue to accept payments through credit and debit cards. “There will be no additional levy on digital transaction at petrol stations even after 13 January, 2017. Petrol pump transaction fee is a business model between the banks and oil marketing companies which they will resolve,” he said.
Petrol pump operators had on Sunday threatened to stop accepting card payments after banks said the transaction charges of up to 1 per cent will have to be borne by them. The crisis was averted after banks agreed not to insist on transaction charges for five more days, leading to pumps owners deferring their plans till January 13.
“We had assured yesterday also that since retail outlets, petrol pump owners work as commission agents, we will not pass on the cost to them,” Pradhan said after meeting finance minister Arun Jaitley on the issue. The 0.75 per cent discount on fuel rate for using digital payments will continue.
Card payments involve a number of stakeholders — payment gateways, PoS machine provider and banks/merchandise outlet. “All these have their own share in the MDR charges. After negotiations, it will be decided to what extent the MDR charges can be brought down that we are discussing,” he said. Earlier, the finance ministry had said that the government departments and oil marketing companies will share the burden of removing MDR charges to promote digital transactions.
Bank had argued that the decision to levy MDR had followed from the circular issued by the Government of India on December 8, 2016 where it announced package for promotion of digital and cashless economy. Within the same, the Government had said, “The Central Government Departments and Central Public Sector Undertakings will ensure that transactions fee/MDR charges associated with payment through digital means shall not be passed on to the consumers and all such expenses shall be borne by them. State Governments are being advised that the State Governments and its organizations should also consider to absorb the transaction fee/MDR charges related to digital payment to them and consumer should not be asked to bear it.”