Hours after deciding to refuse card payments at fuel outlets to protest against some banks levying the Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) for purchases, petroleum dealers deferred their decision till January 13 in view of government notification in this regard. This is a temporary relief for people using motor vehicles. 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 and they were thinking in terms of overcoming this problem in the cashless era. The proposed stir is put off as the official communication from oil marketing companies appears satisfactory for the time being. To promote cashless transactions, the government had waived MDR on fuel purchase for consumers. But after the expiry of the 50-day window, the banks have decided to levy MDR on petrol pump owners. No service is provided free of charge and the banks are right following the status quo before the Nov 8 demonetisation date. The move is bringing mixed feelings and we hope better feelings and banks should reconsider the decision and provide some relief to their clients in a move to promote cashless transactions in a very big way.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)