KUALA LUMPUR: Bank Negara Malaysia unveiled more plans to boost electronic payments, which includes increasing cheque fee for processing, enhancing the e-payment infrastructure and waiving the instant transfer fee of 50 sen.
Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim said on Friday that from January 2021, the cheque fee will be increased from 50 sen to RM1 and gradually thereafter, to reflect the actual cost of cheque processing.
“Cheque is a very costly payment instrument to process compared to electronic fund transfer. Our study shows that the unit cost for cheque processing by banks has increased from RM3 in 2011 to RM4 in 2016, and is estimated to be about RM6 by 2020.
“At around 120 million cheques currently, this translates into an enormous cost of around RM480mil, a sheer wastage to the economy,” he said in his keynote speech at the “Payment System Forum & Exhibition”.
However, users of financial services will continue to be given a choice of using cheques, if they prefer to use an expensive and inefficient option rather than a cheaper one, he said.
To support businesses and individuals, over the next three years a few initiatives will be implemented.
“To drive the migration to e-payments during the transition period, the Instant Transfer fee of 50 sen would be waived for transactions up to RM5,000 per transaction made by individuals and SMEs effective July 1, 2018,” he said.
Muhammad added the e-Payment Incentive Fund (ePIF) will be enlarged with an additional contribution of RM198mil from financial institutions.
The funds will be used to assist account holders to migrate efficiently to e-payments. Individuals and businesses are advised to take advantage of these incentives and engage their respective financial institutions.
He said the migration to e-payments was a critical component as it would benefit Malaysia through greater efficiency and productivity, thereby enhancing the country’s competitiveness.
“We have no choice but to improve the way we conduct our financial affairs. The banking system has allocated huge amount of resources.
“From 2009 to 2017, the industry has invested RM893mil to enhance the e-payment infrastructure. Moving forward, the industry will invest a further RM346mil to expand the POS terminal network and RM40mil to develop the Real-time Retail Payments Platform to spur the usage of mobile payments.
“By the end of 2020, it is envisaged that individuals and businesses will be able to make and receive payments seamlessly via online banking, payment cards and mobile payments. There are no reasons whatsoever for us not to migrate from a costly and inefficient payment mechanism to a cheaper, safer and more efficient payment mode,” he said.