Paying with debit and credit cards in Serbia should soon be more affordable for both shoppers and vendors.
Serbian MPs are about to discuss a dozen financial laws, which, if adopted, will mean much lower fees when using payment cards.
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According to the new regulation, banks will have to issue cards free of charge providing the bank client has a current account. The final result should be a more seldom use of cash, which is a trend in the world.
“The banking fees for using a card when paying range from 1.5% to 3%, while the fee for using a card to pay certain products is almost 5%”, says Zoran Martinovic, a shop owner from Belgrade.
That’s about to change. The central bank gave the banks six months to cut their fees by half, namely to 0.5 percent for debit cards and 0.6 percent for credit cards, and to subsequently reduce these fees to the EU level. This means that fee can be up to 0.2 percent for debit card payments, and up to 0.3 percent on credit card transactions.
“Interbanking fees imposed by international card systems for Serbia are among the highest in Europe. They currently account for at least 0.9 to 1 percent of all transactions, while for certain transactions and purchase of products they go up to 2 percent,” says Governor of the NBS, Jorgovanka Tabakovic.
Similar measures were introduced in EU countries two years ago, which increased the number of card payment terminals by about 11 percent, and the card transactions by around 12 percent.
“This will definitely make debit and credit card transactions more affordable. However, we do think that this is too early to introduce because the European Union itself still has not seen the effects of the law adopted two years ago,” says Zoran Petrovic, Chairam of the Executive Board of Raiffeisen Bank.
The Central Bank goes one step further by stimulating the use of domestic cards such as Dina.
“That’s why we proposed to the banks and other payment service providers to issue a card along with opening a current account”, says Governor Tabakovic.
Although, banks were consulted about this new law, they still find certain solutions quite surprising.
Also, the issuers of debit and credit cards were given the opportunity to tell to the National Bank what they thought of the proposed novelties.
The VISA Company is yet to comment on the proposed new law, while MasterCard did give a statement about it.
They believe that their business model will enable them to continue to provide innovative solutions to customers within the framework of the new regulation and under changed conditions for electronic payments.
This post is also available in: Italiano