A number of banks have come under fire for charging higher fees when customers make loan and credit card payments with cash or cheques over the counter or through deposit machines which has a big effect not only on nationals but to all residents of the state, including OFWs.
At least two other banks in Malaysia have announced they would do the same from next month.
Customers Required to Pay Higher Fees for Counter Services in Malaysian Banks
The Association of Banks in Malaysia (ABM) says the fees are imposed to “encourage customers to move from cash to electronic payments” but consumer groups argue that this practice is unfair to those who do not do their banking via digital channels, as shared in a report by the Star Online.
Accordingly, the fee for making credit card and loan payments over the counter with cash or cheques is RM 2 per transaction.
In essence, a customer who pays his loan or credit card bill by using cash or cheque deposit machines is charged 50 sen each time.
In line with this, the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) chief executive officer Datuk Paul Selvaraj pointed out that banks should not penalize consumers who do not know how to perform Internet banking or who do not trust it.
Selvaraj shared, “We are shocked that Bank Negara is allowing this to happen.”
He added, “People are already suffering from the high cost of living and it is the role of the government to reduce the burden and not increase it.”
Selvaraj also explained that the poor and the disadvantaged will be the ones who will be burdened.
Commenting on this, the National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) secretary J. Solomon agreed that the fees would affect the lower-income group and people with special needs.
Mr. Solomon also clarified that their organization is not against introducing technology in the banking sector.
He shared, “We are only concerned that there is an imbalance now at the expense of consumers, people with special needs and bank workers.”
Solomon explained that banks have shifted from being a service-based industry to a fee-based one, but emphasized the need for their services to be made available for everyone and not just to those who are comfortable with online banking.
Despite the banks’ efforts to encourage the public to use online banking, there has to be a balance struck to maintain services available to all kinds of users. It also must be expected that this type of transition varies in terms of reception from one country to another.
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