Petrol pumps drop threat to stop card payments today

After government stepped in, Petrol Pump Association across India said they will accept credit or debit cards, differing to their earlier decision after banks announced 1 per cent fee on these transactions.

Petrol pumps have been protesting against various banks' move of levying 1 per cent transaction charge on the use of credit and debit card, after banks made a decision to put transaction (MDR) charge on them instead of consumers.

Elsewhere, representing the Delhi Petrol Dealers Association, president Anurag Narain announced that starting tonight, they will not accept any credit or debit card of any bank. According to a report in the Times of India, the ministry has also asked them to put off the levy till a system of compensating the petrol pump owners is in place.

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They argued that the levy of 1 per cent and between 0.25 and 1 per cent on credit/debit card transactions was hitting their profits. "We will not charge any transaction fee on card payments from Monday", the newspaper quoted an ICICI Bank spokesperson as saying. "So, we have also called off our threat, vis-a-vis plastic money till that date", president, All India Petroleum Dealers Association, Ajay Bansal told DH. This will lead to financial loses for the dealers. They said "to be fair to dealers", as the transaction fee can not be paid by consumers or dealers.

In his statement, Bansal also claimed that "credit card machine issuers are delaying settlements and not settling the entire dues as per our settlements". "Our margins are fixed on a per KL basis and do not have any scope to absorb these charges". There are disputes about purchases being returned or not delivered. "The reconciliation of swipes to amount being credit to our accounts is causing a lot of hardships and losses to a large percentage of the dealer community".

According to Mumbai Petrol Dealers' Association, most of the petrol pumps are using HDFC point of sale (POS) machines.

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However, intervention by top government officials, including the PMO, saw the banks postponing their decision to impose transaction fees for a few days till the issue can be resolved in consultation with the petroleum ministry.

"Our margins are not so much that we can accept this one per cent charge on each transaction".

The petroleum dealers feel that the levy of 1 percent transaction fee erodes into their margins which are based on volumes.

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Commenting on the move, a manager at a petrol station said: "The public will see us as the villains now. Hence, we have decided not to use SoP machines from these banks", added Bansal.

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