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With the central government pushing for a cashless economy, several issues with digital payment portals are making consumers wary of them.

While consumers have repeatedly complained about delay in processing transactions, the major issue seems to be the steep fee charged by such portals for various transactions. This has prompted consumer activists to demand a legislation to regulate such fee and prevent exploitation of customers. The fee, levied under various heads, ranges from 1 to 2 per cent and can go to up to 20 per cent. In, one incidence, Rs. 50 was charged by Paytm for booking two tickets which cost Rs 240 in total.

Such high rates were being charged by digital payment and service portals. “The idea behind digital transactions is that you pay less than you used to, as the only charge for such transactions is band width cost., Internet charges are being levied across platforms. Even to book a ticket, 10-12 per cent of the total bill goes up as internet booking charge or in some other name. Even government bodies such as KSRTC levy high internet or similar fee while booking tickets online,.

A spokesperson for Paytm said that such fees were a common feature. “The convenience fee is a token amount charged for online transactions. While it is Rs 50 for small transactions, it is about 1-2 per cent for transactions that are close to `1 lakh or more,” the spokesperson said.

Currently there are no rules or guidelines to regulate the amount digital payment portals can charge as ‘Internet Booking Fee’ or ‘Convenience Fee’. However, with digital economy being promoted, it is essential that the ministries concerned Finance and Consumer Affairs come up with guidelines, he added.

Courtesy Indian Express

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