The Small and Medium Enterprises Association (SAMENTA) has expressed its concerns and disappointment regarding the recently proposed Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) imposed by PayNet for transactions made through Duitnow.

This unexpected development has sent shockwaves throughout the industry, leaving many merchants and businesses grappling with the financial implications.

“While we appreciate that the MDR or commission has been there as a fine print all along, it still seems very arbitrary on the part of PayNet and the acquiring banks to impose as much as 0.5 percent on payments received,” SAMENTA national president Datuk William Ng said in a statement.

SAMENTA, the national body representing SMEs in Malaysia, is deeply concerned about the impact this decision could have on businesses, particularly those in the retail and food and beverage sectors.

At the heart of the issue lies the fact that PayNet essentially holds a monopoly in this space, and merchants have little choice but to use Duitnow as their primary payment platform.

Many businesses have invested substantial time and resources into promoting Duitnow and encouraging customers to make payments using a single QR code. Therefore, the sudden imposition of these charges feels like a betrayal to those who have embraced the platform.

In recent years, SAMENTA has actively advocated for SMEs, urging them to accelerate their digitalisation efforts and embrace e-wallet payments. This move towards digitalisation was seen as a significant step forward for the industry, with the goal of reducing reliance on cash transactions. However, the introduction of substantial MDR charges threatens to reverse these gains and hinder further progress.

Ng appealed to PayNet and the acquiring banks to reconsider the proposed MDR rates, advocating for a lower fee structure. “Going cashless benefits everyone, including the country and banks, as it reduces the risks and costs associated with cash management,” he said. By incentivising businesses to continue accepting digital payments through Duitnow at a reasonable cost, the entire ecosystem can thrive.

He underscored the importance of preserving the momentum towards a cashless society. He warned that if the high MDR rates are maintained, businesses may resort to accepting e-wallet or Duitnow payments only above a certain transaction threshold, or worse, revert to cash-only transactions.

Such a reversal would undermine the progress made in pushing the industry toward greater cashless adoption, which has been a shared goal for merchants, PayNet, and the banks alike. SAMENTA remains hopeful that a more equitable solution can be reached to ensure the continued success of Malaysia’s digital payment ecosystem.


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