Private sector lenders ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and Yes Bank joined their public sector peers to waive the merchant discount rate (MDR) levied on merchants while accepting digital debit card payments from customers.The move follows government asking banks today to levy no charges when customers want to pay digitally through their debit cards, a move to make things easier in a cash-strapped environment in view of ban on old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000.
Banking major SBI had already waived MDR on RuPay debit cards last week, while ICICI Bank had waived it yesterday.
ICICI Bank’s merchant acquiring arm, ICICI Merchant Services Ltd (IMSL) has waived the MDR on debit card transactions at all merchants serviced by IMSL and they will be able to accept payments on all Visa, Mastercard and RuPay debit cards without any cost to them, ICICI Bank said. It has also doubled the limit on usage of debit card for a period from November 10 to December 31.
“It is effective from today, November 23, 2016 till December 31, 2016. Further, customers of ICICI Bank will continue to enjoy usage of their debit cards without any charge to them as has always been the case,” it said.
Axis Bank said: “In support of Government’s demonetisation scheme and to offer ease and convenience to its merchants and customers, the Bank today waived Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) transaction fees on debit card usage.”
The bank has waived the service charges on the use of debit cards at Axis Bank terminals (merchant acquiring) effective tonight up to December 31, 2016.
Additionally, the bank has partnered with merchants to allow customers to withdraw cash at POS terminals.
Yes Bank said MDR has been waived for all debit card transactions across RuPay, MasterCard and Visa platforms at all merchant locations, including online transactions upto December 30.
“The waiver of MDR will facilitate greater acceptance of Debit Cards by the Merchants thereby resulting in greater use of cards by customers as their preferred payment method,” Yes Bank said.
The Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das had earlier today said that: “Public sector banks, some of the private banks and some of the service providers that provide switching services have agreed to waive the service charges on the use of debit cards up to December 31, 2016.”