Residents charged extra for cashless payments

Miss Alone

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Cashless transactions, especially through cards, are turning out to be a major problem for consumers as well as merchants. Overloaded and slow online servers are leading to delay in transactions, many of which are often aborted, leaving consumers in the lurch.

Another issue is that shopkeepers have a minimum purchase threshold for accepting card payment. Most traders accept card payment only on purchases above Rs250. Also, some traders insist on a 2% transaction charge for accepting payment through cards, despite the Centre waiving off these charges till December 31.

These problems are proving a major obstacle to the Central government’s plan to increase the scale of cashless transactions.

“A card has to be swiped twice or thrice before the transaction is approved. This is happening since mid-November after the currency shortage started,” Naveen Kumar, a wholesale grocery seller in Sadar Bazaar, said.

Kumar’s trade was based solely on cash, but he bought a GPRS enabled card swipe machine for Rs23,000 as he was losing customers. Since Kumar is new to using the device, he is left wondering why transactions are declined or the machine fails to respond for a long time.

Manoj Yadav, who works at a petrol station on Pataudi Road, said that the move towards a cashless country is burdening the existing infrastructure.

“Many sellers and traders have bought these machines recently and it has put additional load on servers. Our machines never hung or got slow earlier, but now, a card has to be swiped repeatedly to complete a transaction,” Yadav said.

Residents said that shopkeepers’ refusal to credit/debit card for a purchase less than Rs250 is a major problem as there is a shortage of cash.

A retailer at Ram Nagar said, “We do not accept card payments if the amount is less than Rs250 as it incurs charges for us.”

Siddharth Arora, a paediatrician, said he was asked to pay extra to make a cashless transaction. “I got my hair cut at a salon in South City-2. The charge for the cut was Rs70, but I was asked to pay Rs90 if payment was to be made through my card. I tried to make the stylist understand that the charges have been waived off and finally managed to pay only Rs70,” Arora said.

The Haryana government, on November 14, ordered all businesses to accept payments made through cheque, demand draft, and online methods as there is a shortage of currency notes. The government had also authorised deputy commissioners to initiate action against violators.