MATTA protests ban on credit card surcharges

THE Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) is unhappy with the prohibition of surcharges on credit card payments, as it can inconvenience members and the travelling public.

Association president Tan Kok Liang said travel agencies and tour companies operated on low margins, unlike retail outlets at 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,” he said in a statement today.

He said the easy way out for travel agencies and tour companies was to embed the MDR into the pricing, but it would be unfair to the vast majority of customers who paid by cash, cheques, or online.

“It will benefit consumers more when charges are transparent and kept as low as possible,” he said.

Bank Negara Malaysia had recently announced that retailers were not permitted to impose surcharges for payments using debit cards, with a similar prohibition applied for credit card payments under the rules of international card schemes such as Visa and Mastercard under the Payment Card Reform Framework.

Tan said action against tour operators trying to recover the MDR cost would only backfire.

“It is better for Bank Negara 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 Malaysia,” he said.

He said that MATTA members must abide by its code of ethics, which included operating legitimate businesses in a fair and transparent manner. – Bernama, March 23, 2018.