As Bengalureans learnt to cope with the cash crunch caused due to demonetization, another problem is brewing for the city.
From Monday onwards, the Bengaluru Petroleum Owners’ Association has decided to stop accepting debit cards and credit cards as a payment option across petrol pumps in the city.
“Yesterday, we received a message that banks are going to levy 1% transaction charge on any cashless transaction made at petrol pumps. With this move, petrol pump owners will incur losses equal to twice the profit a petrol pump makes. Hence we have decided not to accept credit or debit cards as a payment option,” said Ravindra, President of the Bengaluru Petroleum Owners’ Association.
He said that the owners were aware of the fact that this would cause immense inconvenience to customers and yet they had decided to go ahead with the move.
“We do not mean to inconvenience our customers. We know it will be difficult for them but if a petrol pump is making Rs 1 lakh per month, then the loss that it will incur will be Rs 2 lakh, if this charge is levied. We want the government to revert this decision and as soon as it does, we will continue accepting cashless payments. If a businessman incurs losses, he will naturally not pursue that line of business,” he added.
Ravindra said that the Association was in the process of informing all the petrol pump owners across the city and by Monday morning, all petrol pumps would stop accepting the cards.
“This is going to be very problematic for the drivers. Especially after demonetization, all taxi drivers have been using their debit cards to fill fuel every day. The petrol bunk owners are either going to impose the transaction fee on us or refuse to pump fuel to vehicles if they do not offer cash payments. There is a withdrawal limit every day and this is going to severely impact the drivers’ earnings,” said Radhakrishna Holla, of the Taxi Drivers’ Association.
The News Minute spoke to a few residents of the city and received mixed reactions to the association’s decision.
“We barely have cash in hand these days. Almost all of my transactions are done through my debit card or PayTM. If the petrol pumps stop accepting credit or debit cards then may be people will be driven to use public transport. I think this may help reduce the number of vehicles that will ply on the roads and decongest the city a little bit,” said 27-year-ol Swapnil Ganeshan, a Thippasandra resident and an IT professional.
On the other hand, a few residents seemed taken aback and expressed displeasure over the foreseeable inconvenience.
“First the government makes us stand in long lines outside banks and ATMs, now the petrol bunk owners are out to get the residents. Everyone has their own agenda but no one has stopped to consider how this has affected the people and the difficulties we face. Just when we were beginning to deal with the idea of not getting change for Rs 2,000 notes, this is just another hurdle,” said Sudhakar Rao, a 47-year-old realtor from Koramangala.