Dial 1900 if you are asked to pay extra for credit card use

A customer awareness program on credit cards is under way in Jeddah’s Red Sea Mall.

A customer awareness program on credit cards is under way in Jeddah’s Red Sea Mall.

There is good news for customers using credit cards for the payment of goods and services with the government’s announcement of prohibiting any extra charge on customers besides the actual value of the item or service. The new regulation will come into effect from Saturday.

“Retailers or service providers who charge extra fees on debit or credit card payments will be considered in breach of the law and face penalties,” a senior official from the Ministry of Commerce told Arab News on Sunday.

He added that if any trader insisted on the extra charge, customers could dial the toll free number 1900 to lodge a complaint.

The official stressed that traders must accept debit and credit cards to make payments as displayed on their premises. They also have to ensure that customers pay only for the original value of the goods or services and not any excess amount.

Some traders in the Kingdom, especially jewelers, car rental companies, travel agencies and schools, charge from 2.5 percent to 5 percent over and above the total value saying that this amount is being deducted for the card payment processing fee. They often stress that the fee is charged by the bank which has issued the card.

“The card processing fee is a free service in the Kingdom and anyone charging customers for this is in violation of the law,” the official explained.

However, trading sources said that there is a gray area in the collection of the processing fee on credit card payments due to internal agreements with clients, bankers and credit card companies.

They cited currency exchange rates playing a role to some extent in processing charges as many pilgrims use credit cards for shopping in Makkah and Jeddah.

The Ministry of Commerce is actively engaged in an awareness program to educate customers about their rights and need to guard against fraud by traders.

With this view, the ministry held a “Know your Rights” campaign in the Red Sea Mall in Jeddah on Friday where it provided tips to detect fraud during shopping.

 
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