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Central Bank caps debit card fees

Shawn Cumberbatch

Central Bank caps debit card fees
Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes (FILE)

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The Central Bank of Barbados has intervened to make banks and credit unions reduce the debit card fees they are charging individuals and businesses.

Governor Cleviston Haynes announced today that effective November 1 these financial institutions can charge no more than $3 per transaction when customers use automated teller machines (ATM) other than those owned by their bank or credit union.

“Also, when you use your point-of-sale card at a merchant some banks it’s free but for others there was a charge, but November 1 there will be no charge for using your Visa debt card or Mastercard at a merchant,” he also announced in a brief statement at the end of his third quarter press conference.

Barbadians and the business community have been complaining about the high fees banks and credit unions have been imposing since the banks decided to move on from the CarIFS (Caribbean Integrated Financial Services Ltd) automated debit switch that linked ATM machines and point-of-sale terminals across Barbados to the Visa and Mastercard platforms.

“We believe that this is an initial step that we are taking and…we reserve the right for further intervention once we have assessed how the market is responding. We need to be fair to customers both in terms of individuals, in terms of merchants, [and] in terms of the financial institutions,” the Governor said.

The Central Bank explained that its initial action was intended to standardise the interchange rate for Visa and Mastercard debit card transactions, and to cushion the impact of the increased fees on depositors and the business sector. (SC)