BoN warns against swiping limits for consumers

Naufiku Hamunime

The Bank of Namibia (BoN) has issued a warning against merchants enforcing card swiping limits, emphasising the banking industry’s responsibility to stop minimum or maximum purchase restrictions for card transactions.

BoN spokesperson Naufiku Hamunime says under the guidelines provided by BoN, merchants are obligated to accept valid debit and credit cards within their designated acceptance category, regardless of the transaction’s dollar amount.

“With regards to the swiping limits, the public should report any non-compliance with the notice to the Payment Association of Namibia (PAN) and to the commercial bank whose Point of Sale (POS) device is being used by the merchant,” she says.

Hamunime adds that the move towards increased card payment transactions is not only aligned with global trends, but also contributes significantly to fostering a cash-lite society because handling cash payments incurs additional costs.

By embracing electronic payments regardless of the transaction amount, merchants can contribute to the reduction of these costs.

“The purpose of commercial banks providing POS devices to merchants is to reduce the reliance on cash and provide both merchants and customers the convenience of making electronic payments,” she says.

Meanwhile, a notice released by PAN states that punishing consumers for utilising payment cards not only violates card operating regulations, but also unjustly transfers the burden of electronic payment costs onto the consumer.

“Carrying around large amounts of cash poses a risk to the individual. With a debit or credit card, you can pay for goods and services in a safe and secure manner.

Cards also offer a fast and convenient way to shop,” the release reads.

The notice also says if PAN discovers that a merchant is not following the operating rules and regulations, it can inform the acquirer about the non-compliance.

The acquirer is then required to ensure that the merchant stops the non-compliant practice promptly.

According to the Payment System Management Act, 2003 (Act No.18 of 2003), someone found guilty of breaking thelaw faces a maximum fine of N$1 million, imprisonment for up to 10 years, or both,while for some offences, the maximum penalty is a fine of N$20 000, imprisonment for up to five years, or both. – The Brief

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