FG ban businesses from deducting N50 service charge for POS payment
The Nigerian Government on Tuesday stopped business owners from deducting a N50 service charge for payments made by customers using the point of sales (POS) machine.
“Effectively, and in furtherance of this clarification, merchants are now prohibited from penalising or otherwise assessing any duty, costs or assessment characterised as “stamp duty” on consumers who select the point of sale options to conclude their purchases or transactions,” Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) chief executive officer, Babatunde Irukera said in a statement.
Irureka said the N50 deduction by merchants is illegal and asked Nigerians to report violations with evidence when they occur.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had earlier opposed the extra charges deducted from customers by merchants, insisting that only businesses are to pay N50 stamp duty on every payment received through the POS and not customers.
“Stamp duty is not to be paid by individuals that are consuming the goods and services of the merchant. The merchants who are receiving the money are the ones who are supposed to pay,” Musa Jimoh, a director in CBN’s payment system management department said in an interview on Channels Television.
The FCCPC boss said deduction of POS service charge by businesses is a violation of the act that established the government agency.
“The Commission, in collaboration with CBN, other relevant regulators and law enforcement authorities, intends to enforce the law to its fullest extent and invites consumers to report violations (when they occur) with evidence of such violations,” Irureka said.
Irureka explained that the agency had engaged with the CBN and concluded that an assessment imposed on merchants is a component of their cost of doing business, and may only be directly passed on to the consumer in limited circumstances.
The FCCPC boss warned that imposition of an additional fee on consumers that is exclusive of price and discriminates the selected mode of payment and essentially amounts to a penalty for the adopted mode of payment.
Irureka said the decision by businesses to charge consumers is inconsistent with the government’s underlying policy and also counterproductive and burdensome on consumers.