BANKS RAISE CARD PAYMENT FEES
Commercial banks managers solved a problem that emerged earlier this year about whether and how much interbank fees for debit and credit card transactions should be raised. Currently, if a client of a bank that has issued such a card draws or transfers money on that card through another bank's ATM, the card issuer pays a BGN0.10 fee to the ATM owner. Most bank managers claim that this fee is too low and six months ago they insisted on raising it to BGN0.40. By early June, some of the managers had been opposing that proposal. Last week the BANKER weekly learned from an executive director of a bank that has issued over 300,000 debit cards that an agreement had finally been reached. It happened on June 5, when bank managers in Bulgaria held a meeting in the Sofia Rila Hotel and talked about fees for debit and credit card payments. During the meeting, all participants agreed with the raise. The decision was also supported by representatives of Bulgarian Post Bank, EIBANK and Tokuda Bank which had been quite sceptical to the fee hike until the end of last May. The managers of SG EXPRESSBANK who did not attend the June 5 meeting remained the only opponents to the project.In order to prevent any misunderstandings on the issue, the bankers who attended the meeting decided to call the committee of clients of the Borika national card operator. According to the statute of the company, the committee makes decisions with ordinary majority - 50% plus one of the votes of banks that issue debit and credit cards. Its decisions are binding on both Borika and the credit institutions related with the operator. The persistence of the managers of SG EXPRESSBANK proved to be beneficial, too. They made the rest of the bank managers call the committee of clients which had not been gathered for almost two years by then. The bankers who attended the meeting in Rila Hotel found it difficult to remember who was presiding the committee. As a result of several-day investigations, it became clear that it was DSK Bank. That's why the meeting of the committee on June 18 was organized and held by the Chairman of the DSK Bank's Management Board, Krassimir Angarsky. The participants voted for raising interbank fees for debit and credit card transactions from BGN0.10 to BGN0.40. According to some bank managers, the hike will not increase the fees that bank card owners pay.The committee of clients also voted to increase the lowest amount that debit card holders are able to draw from ATMs. Customers have been able to draw up to BGN200 so far, but as of July 1 the lowest amount will be BGN400.