NEWS

Cost to Reduce for Bank Customers

Good news for bank customers around the country. A Bill that will reduce costs associated with electronic transactions was passed unanimously in Parliament yesterday. Opposition MP, Viliame Gavoka who spoke
10 Feb 2017 11:00
Cost to Reduce for Bank Customers
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama outside Parliament yesterday. Photo: Jone Luvenitoga

Good news for bank customers around the country.

A Bill that will reduce costs associated with electronic transactions was passed unanimously in Parliament yesterday.

Opposition MP, Viliame Gavoka who spoke in support of the Bill said they applauded the way in which the Bill was brought before Parliament.

“The report by the committee on the Bill has been very informative and made them understand the issues at stake,” he said.

The Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, while speaking on the Fiji Interchange Network Bill 2016 said it would boost the use of ATMs around the country with lower charges.

He said the Bill was tabled before Parliament last year and then taken to its subjected committee where recommendations were made.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said copies of the Bill were also circulated amongst Parliamentarians.

He said the purpose of the Bill was to essentially ensure there was a payment system that included payment service providers to interconnect through a national switch or commonly known as the Fiji Interchange Network.

Mr Sayed –Khaiyum said if the Bill was enacted it would prevent anti-competitive measures amongst payment services providers.

He added the Bill would reduce costs associated with electronic transactions and people’s dependency on cash.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said it would enable customers to access financial systems and institutions, increase financial inclusion and reduce the cost base of providing financial services.

He said it would enable the sharing of infrastructure between banks.

An example, he said, was big banks in Fiji not allowing other small banks to access their ATM machines.

He said Bank of Baroda was one of these smaller banks which had been in existence since 1960s and for years they didn’t have ATMs because a particular bank didn’t allow them.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said a few big banks in Fiji didn’t allow any other players but with the Bill it would be now be a thing of the past.

He said when a person went to an ATM machine of one of the big banks they couldn’t use their cards.

However, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said an agreement was always made through bilateral agreement but it came with a cost.

He said the Bill had come into place because these big banks had an oligarchy power over other smaller banks in which they would dictate rates.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the Bill would allow people to use their bank cards in other ATM machines but at a lower rate compared to the current rates.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback:  arieta.vakasukawaqa@fijisun.com.fj

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