Namibian banks accused of banking fees price-fixing

The Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC) has accused several banks and the Payment Association of Namibia (PAN) of working together to set fees for debit and credit card transactions.

According to the NaCC, PAN, First National Bank of Namibia and Standard Bank Namibia adopted a payment clearing house card schedule, setting interchange fees since 2014.

The NaCC believes this agreement could have driven up the cost of these transactions for consumers and businesses in Namibia.

“The commission found that the parties involved agreed on the fees charged for processing card transactions. This agreement might have prevented banks from setting their own fees, which could have potentially led to lower costs for consumers,” says NaCC spokesperson Dina //Gowases.

According to //Gowases, NaCC is giving the banks and PAN 30 days to respond to the allegations.

“This conduct undermines fair market practices by replacing independent pricing with agreed-upon fees,” says //Gowases.

“The banks and PAN can either agree with our findings or argue that their actions were legal. We are also open to discussing a possible settlement to avoid going to court.”

If the NaCC’s accusations are upheld, the banks and PAN could face fines. The commission proposed potential penalties of up to 10% of turnover for the infringing parties.

The NaCC is also seeking a court order to prevent them from agreeing on fees in the future.

“We believe that competition between banks is important for driving down the cost of financial services. By setting their own fees, banks would be incentivised to offer more competitive rates to their customers,” says //Gowases.

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