Some traders have stopped accepting cards. They say the costs are simply too high, but the retailers’ organisation UNIZO says legislation is on the way to oblige retailers to offer the possibility of making an electronic payment.
At the start of the pandemic electronic payments were encouraged to limit contacts. Many retailers who hadn’t got the equipment, had it installed. Still, many prefer you to pay in cash to prevent commission eating into their margins.
However, retailers are able to negotiate individual deals with electronic payment providers. Lies Maes has a baker’s shop in Klerken (West Flanders) and is a big fan: “I don’t pay any transaction costs for sales under 5 euros. The more transactions I register, the less I pay. I negotiated the deal. At first, I paid 15 cents per transaction. That was too much!”
UNIZO’s Lieve Cloots says opinions about electronic payments are mixed among retailers. “Many retailers are stuck in old payments agreements that make it expensive for them. Costs providers charge have been reduced. Being only able to pay in cash is not today’s world. Federal legislation is under way to oblige retailers to offer the choice of electronic payment. We don’t think that’s a bad idea, but the system has to be a good one.”
Bancontact now also offers Payconiq. Shoppers scan a QR code with their smartphone and that cuts costs by around half for retailers. Abroad paying by smartphone is often the norm and UNIZO too believes there lies the future.