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Call for Govt to keep close eye on service providers

Call for Govt to keep close eye on service providers
Worthing Corporate Centre. (FILE)

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The matter of fees being charged by some financial institutions for services was in the spotlight on Wednesday as an Independent and a Government senator called for strict regulation of service providers, when the Senate debated the National Payments Systems Bill 2021.

The bill sets out the framework for the establishment of non-traditional systems of payment for business transactions and makes provision for oversight and regulation by the Central Bank and a National Payments Council which is to be established.

Independent senator Lindell Nurse and Government senator Rawdon Adams were of the view that fee monitoring and control should be an important aspect of the regulator’s role.

Nurse said he hoped the regulators would ensure that fees being charged by payment systems service providers were “fair and reasonable”, as he noted there had been complaints about fees being charged by financial institutions, for some time.

“The National Payment System should be cost effective for everyone to use, whether it is a business, Government or individual,” Nurse advised. He also suggested the fees of all providers should be published “so that consumers can make a comparison” and decide.

Adams described the regulatory power given to the Central Bank in the legislation as “a very powerful element”.

He indicated that regulation was timely in view of certain charges being made within the banking system that would have implications for the level of fees paid, while disclosing there was talk in the banking sector about “decommissioning and repurposing” of the existing CARIFS system which facilitates VISA and Master Card transactions between banks with the use of the ATM card.

Adams said it was timely that the Bill contemplated developments such as this. (GC)