Bank Negara Malaysia should be pragmatic, says Matta president

 KUCHING: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) is unhappy with the prohibition of surcharge on credit card payments, as it can cause inconvenience to its members and the travelling public.

“It is well known that travel agencies and tour companies operate on low margins, unlike retail outlets in shopping malls.

“As such, a surcharge has to be imposed on credit card payments just to recover the cost of the Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) charged by banks,” said MATTA president Dato Tan Kok Liang in a press statement yesterday.

The easy way out for travel agencies and tour companies is to embed the MDR into the pricing, but it would be unfair to the vast majority of customers who pay by cash, cheque or online. It would benefit consumers more when charges are transparent and kept as low as possible, he said.

He stressed that MATTA members do not sell goods which can be bought and carried away by customers at the spur of the moment.

Tour packages are usually purchased weeks or months in advance before departure and customers have plenty of time to pay by cheque or online.

Few would take the trouble to go to a tour company and pay by credit card and it is only fair that they pay for the MDR instead of getting all customers to pay more.

“Consumers will benefit more if travel packages are not embedded with hidden costs and actions against tour operators trying to recover the MDR cost will only backfire.

“It would be better for Bank Negara Malaysia to explore the possibility of abolishing the MDR or reduce the rate substantially for large amounts.

“This would benefit both consumers and businesses immensely and spur the growth of cashless payment in our country.”

“MATTA members must abide by our Code of Ethics, which includes operating a legitimate business in a fair and transparent manner.

“Any member found to be unscrupulous would be expelled after a fair hearing and proper investigation.

“The travel industry is highly competitive and staff of tour companies are focused on pleasing customers,” concluded Tan.