Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: As people continue to face cash crunch after the scrapping of high value notes, the government on Wednesday decided to waive off MDR (Merchant Discount Rate) charges on use of debit cards and service charges on online Railway ticket booking till December 31.
MDR is the fee a merchant has to pay a bank to access its payment infrastructure. The Reserve Bank in 2012 had capped the MDR for debit card transaction at 0.75 percent for transaction values up to Rs 2,000 and at 1 per cent for transaction values above Rs 2,000. However, there is no RBI cap on MDR on credit card payments.
Briefing the media in Delhi, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said that all digital transactions through feature phones will also be not levied with service charges till December 31.
“TRAI has reduced ussd charges to rs 0.50 from rs 1.50,” he added.
Das said, “PSUs and some private sector banks have agreed to waive off service charges on use of debit card till December 31.”
As of now, Rupay debit cards have already waived the switching charges. Other debit cards which operate international card network companies like Mastercard and Visa, currently charge transaction charges.
He also added that that all government organisations, PSUs and agencies have been advised to use digital payment for paying salaries and other expenses. "All government organisations have been advised to use only digital payment method, and trying the same at toll plazas," he said.
Addressing the need of farmer's cash crunch, he said that NABARD has sanctioned special limit of Rs 21,000 crore to district central cooperative banks to help agricultural credits.
“RBI, banks, NABARD have been instructed to make available cash to cooperative banks to ensure farmers get credit and certain amount in cash,” he said.
RBI yesterday announced certain relaxation on e-wallets, enhancing the limit from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 in respect of individuals.
He also said that new Rs 500 and Rs 2000 notes have been made available in 1.55 lakh post offices. Stating that 82,000 ATMs have bee re-calibrated so far, Das confirmed that only in a matter of few days all the ATMs will be re-calibrated.
On November 8, Modi had announced the decision to demonetise Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes.