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EghtesadOnline: As the new fiscal year started on March 21 and the banking system expects major reforms, the issue of payment services’ fees poses a huge challenge to the electronic banking sector.

At present, banks receiving and making payments bear the bulk of payment fees because when a payment is made with a bank card, the bank receiving the payment has to pay a fee to the bank whose card has been used. This is on top of the amount banks pay as rent and support fees for each POS device to payment service providers.

Furthermore, banks have to pay another fee when submitting a transaction order aimed at paying public bills and purchasing phone credit recharges, according to Financial Tribune.

“The fee system must be designed in a way that the person receiving the services pays the fees, but receiving banks currently bear the full burden,” Majid Hadi, Sina Bank’s director for networks and infrastructures, told IBENA.

According to Hadi, the current fee system significantly increases the final cost of money for banks and negatively impacts their motivation to invest in electronic banking services.

In addition to directing the fee model toward people receiving the services, his other solution was a mix of clearance time and fees, meaning that people wishing their money to be cleared sooner will pay higher fees.

“This solution will lead to a significant decline in fake transactions and big transactions turning into smaller ones,” said Hadi, who is also a board member of Fanava Card, Sina Bank and Sarmayeh Bank’s PSP company. 

“Since these transactions will engage the sending bank, Shetab [interbank system], Shaparak [payment settlement system] and the PSPs, the decline will save a lot in terms of foreign currencies and boost the quality of payment services throughout the country,” he added.

According to Alireza Lagzaei, deputy CEO of Bank Mellat, Iranian banks paid more than 50 trillion rials in fees two years ago, while it is predicted that the figure could reach about 80 trillion rials ($) in the last fiscal year. 

This is while according to Central Bank of Iran’s deputy for innovative technologies, Nasser Hakimi, banks’ revenues from electronic payment fees do not exceed 30 trillion rials annually.

CBI is expected to implement its fee overhaul measures by the end of the current year, but as Behzad Safari, deputy for information technology at Ghavamin Bank points out, the pace of change is very slow.

“Banks will only be able to pay their current hefty expenses for so long. While these figures are increasing the final cost of money for banks, pressures are being passed on to their loan receivers,” he said.

“The income structure of banks poses one of the most serious challenges, therefore reforming the fee system, especially with regard to POS devices in shops, is one of the necessities of the country’s payment system,” added Safari, who also sits on the board of Ghavamin Bank’s Sayan Card. 

 

Iran banking system Iran Payment Transaction Fees Iran electronic banking sector