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A New Pricing Strategy to Promote Greater Efficiency

Bank Negara Malaysia today announced a new pricing strategy for payment services to address the current price distortion between electronic payments and paper-based payment instruments. Under the new pricing reform, the fee for electronic payment methods will be reduced to incentivise businesses and consumers to adopt the more cost effective electronic payment methods while charges will be levied on cheques to reflect its higher cost.

Effective 2 May 2013, the fee for Interbank GIRO or IBG transactions that is performed online via internet banking and mobile banking, will be at 10 sen. The low online IBG fee is aimed at providing the incentive for users to switch from other more costly payment methods to lower cost alternatives. Online payment via internet banking and mobile banking lends significant benefits to both individuals and businesses. Individuals enjoy the convenience of transacting anytime anywhere, avoiding the queues at bank counters while businesses can lower the costs of doing business through the reduction or redeployment of resources used for handling cash and cheques. With more payments done electronically, there will also be cost savings from manual processes including postage.

To reduce the cost and inefficiencies associated with the use of cheques, the charge for cheques will be progressively increased to reflect its production cost, which is currently at RM3.00. A period of one year is given for the general public and businesses to familiarize with, adjust and migrate to using IBG for their payment transactions. Effective 1 April 2014, banks will charge a cheque processing fee of 50 sen on the issuer of the cheque. This fee is in addition to the existing stamp duty of 15 sen per cheque leaf. During the one-year period, Bank Negara Malaysia will work closely with the financial industry to further improve the payment infrastructure to ensure payment services are easily accessible, secure and convenient.

In addition to cheques and IBG, adjustments in pricing for the other payment channels and methods, including automatic teller machines (ATM) will be phased in progressively to steer consumers to adopt the more cost effective electronic payment methods. By the year 2020, the pricing of all payment services will be based on the cost of providing the service.

Today, 1.6 billion financial transactions are carried out using electronic means, double the amount in 2006. While the progress is positive, the target is to increase the number of electronic payments per capita from 56 in 2012 to 200 by 2020 and to reduce the number of cheques cleared in the country by half from 204 million to 100 million during the same period. Achievement of these targets will bring Malaysia closer to reaping annual savings up to 1% of GDP which studies have shown an economy would achieve by shifting from paper based to a more electronic based payment systems. The need to accelerate the migration is even more important now as Malaysia transitions towards a high value added, high-income economy.

Bank Negara Malaysia
20 March 2013

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