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Consumer Council Supports Bill; Raises Issues Regarding Fees

  The Consumer Council of Fiji made its submission to the Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights on the Fiji Interchange Network (Payments) Bill 2016 yesterday. The chief
04 Mar 2016 12:37
Consumer Council Supports Bill; Raises Issues Regarding Fees
Premila Kumar

 

The Consumer Council of Fiji made its submission to the Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights on the Fiji Interchange Network (Payments) Bill 2016 yesterday.

The chief executive officer for Consumer Council of Fiji, Mrs Premila Kumar said: “The Government’s vision is to move towards a less-cash economy, by using electronic payment channels. A shift towards technology based financial system.

“Creating the National Switch will assist the government to realise this vision.”

Consumers generally use ATM for cash withdrawal or balance enquiry hence a centralised interoperable infrastructure will enable the public and businesses to move beyond that.

There are six banks licensed by the Reserve Bank of Fiji that provide ATM services: ANZ, Bank of Baroda, Bred Bank, and Bank of the South Pacific, Home Finance Company Limited (HFC), and Westpac Banking Corporation.

Mrs Kumar said the consumers faced problems of poor ATM access in remote areas, lack of choice and inconvenience as most banks are based in the central division, lack of competition and transparency and consumers paying high prices to access their own money.

One of the concerns raised by Association of Banks in Fiji (ABIF) was that although efficient for the customers in that they can access their funds through any ATM machines, implementing the new system will also mean possible loss in revenue for banks because they would not be charging fees for the use of ATM machines.

“If the state leaves it to the market players ATM growth will be very slow if the vision is technology based financial system.

“Since Banks have not cooperated with each other, I think we need the bill to the mover and the shaker,” she said.

Cost effective access to ATM’s plays an important role in technology based financial inclusion.

Feedback:  aatika.patel@fijisun.com.fj

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