Bank Negara should be pragmatic over surcharges, says MATTA

KUALA LUMPUR (March 23): The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) expressed its unhappiness over the prohibition of surcharge on credit card payments set by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

In a statement today, MATTA President Datuk Tan Kok Liang said travel agencies and tour companies operate on low margins, unlike retail outlets in shopping malls and a surcharge would help to recover the cost of the Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) charged by banks.

“The easy way out for travel agencies and tour companies is to embed the MDR into the pricing, but it would be unfair to the vast majority of customers who pay by cash, cheque or online,” Tan said.

He stressed MATTA members do not sell goods which can be bought and carried away by customers at the spur of the moment. Tour packages are usually purchased weeks or months in advance.

“It would be better for BNM to explore the possibility of abolishing the MDR or reduce the rate substantially for large amounts,” Tan added.

Tan also stressed MATTA members must abide by the Code of Ethics, which includes operating a legitimate business in a fair and transparent manner.

“Any member found to be unscrupulous would be expelled after a fair hearing and proper investigation. The travel industry is highly competitive and staff of tour companies are focused on pleasing customers,” Tan said.