Additional reporting by Henry Mugenyi
Uganda Bankers Association ( UBA) this week launched the ” No Merchant Surcharge Campaign ” dubbed “Pay with your card at no Extra Cost”.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of the card payment system and eliminating the practice of merchants levying extra fees for electronic payments made using Point of Sale ( POS) machines.
In a presser at the associations’ headquarters in Muyenga, UBA Executive Director Wilbrod Owor said, “Last year August, Bank of Uganda issued a directive that prohibits merchant surcharging at POS terminal and the fixing of minimum/ maximum transaction amounts on electronic payment cards and this was in a bid to drive the growth and uptake of digital financial services”.
Through this campaign, UBA will educate consumers on the no surcharge rule where stakeholders should not be compelled to pay additional fees for using their payment cards of choice instead of cash at a point of sale.
The consumer therefore should enjoy the benefit of no extra fee charge from Bank’s partners or merchants such as stores, supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, bars and fuel stations.
Salma Ingabire, Visa country manager for Uganda, explained that surcharging has an adverse impact on electronic payments and growth and ultimately on financial inclusion.
Consumers should be free to choose their preferred form of payment and those who decide to pay with payment cards should not be penalized.
She continued, “Visa’s no surcharging protection was created specifically to shield consumers from retailers who seek to impose surcharge fees and penalize consumers who choose Visa over other forms of payment”.
Frank Molla, the country Business Development, East Africa growth, Mastercard noted that the practice of applying surcharge fees frustrates the efforts of financial institutions and card scheme providers in facilitating convenient payment and access to services.
The campaign will run for six months, initially starting in the central region for 3 months.