Report surcharging by merchants, UBA urges card holders

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By Salim Kalanzi

The Uganda Bankers Association (UBA) has urged bank card holders to report merchants who apply a surcharge their transactions while using electronic card to pay for goods and services.

Surcharging is the added charge merchants decide to apply on top of what you are spending on your goods or service when you choose to pay with your bank card.

Speaking during an electronic Visa show recently, Patricia Amito Lutwama, Head of Communications and Corporate Affairs, UBA, said the practice is illegal and that customers should report such incidents to their respective banks or UBA, an umbrella body of all commercial banks.

“Surcharging is illegal. We encourage consumers to report merchants who apply a surcharge on their transactions to their banks immediately. We want to see more customers use their cards to pay for their goods and services as it is convenient for them,” she said.

Some merchants such as bars, supermarkets among others have been applying a surcharge whenever customers choose to settle payments using electronic bank cards.  

Arnold Kwesiga, Head of Card Acquiring, Absa Bank said, “We are here as a joint front to stamp out this vice that is surcharging.”

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Kennedy Luhombo, Senior Business Development Leader Merchant Sales and Acquiring at Visa said merchant should encourage consumers to use digital payments. He said the benefits far out weigh the fees the charge customers in the the long run.

The latest report from BoU shows that the total number of credit cards issued by banks grew by 8.2% to 10,004 and the value of payments stood at sh67.5b in the last 12-month to June 2020.

“This trend was partly driven by actions taken by financial institutions to promote the usage of cashless transactions as a measure to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission,” BoU said.

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