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Amid COVID-19 developments | 27 March 2020

CBS obtains banking community’s commitment to ease customers’ access to digital and online payment platforms, waive SEFT fees

 

In the face of the dynamic developments related to the COVID-19 outbreak, where face-to-face interaction and use of cash is being minimised, the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) is urging bank customers to make use of digital and online banking services and has called on the banking community to make such services available.

Following discussions with the Seychelles Bankers Association (SBA), the CBS announces the implementation of the following measures, effective Friday March 27, 2020, in a bid to encourage the use of digital platforms:

• Removal of all charges pertaining to the use of the SEFT customer platform and fees associated with SEFT payments made through the banks’ mobile banking applications, internet banking, and interbank platforms.

• Institutions issuing payment cards and POS machines should ensure sufficient stock and availability. Institutions should expedite the issuing process of these modes of payment, including same day or next working day issuance of credentials. This should also apply to the registration of customers to use the SEFT customer platform, internet banking, mobile banking, and other digital payment services. Customers, particularly those whose banks do not have internet banking or mobile banking applications can approach their banks to register to use the SEFT customer platform.

• Institutions to fast track configuration of POS machines to have the contactless functionality enabled and those offering contactless cards will increase the limit that does not require insertion of PIN to R1,000 per transaction and a daily limit of R2,000. This is a faster alternative and provides for less physical interaction.

CBS is also calling on merchants, particularly the retailers making use of the POS machines, to ensure that customers are allowed to make payments for any amount of purchase.

Merchants are reminded that imposing minimum or maximum purchase amounts is a violation of VISA’s Card Acceptance Rules, which they sign with their respective banks to provide POS services.

Aside from the above-mentioned required measures, all banking institutions are also being encouraged to fast track account opening processes, while remaining in line with relevant laws, and to have fully operational call centres or hotline services to ensure customer support for any queries or complaints that may arise due to this unprecedented situation.

CBS has also approved a request from the SBA for all banking institutions to remain closed on Saturdays, as from Saturday March 28, 2020, until further notice.

Another measure approved by CBS this month, which will assist in reducing the number of times ATMs run out of cash and need to be replenished is the temporary suspension of the requirement to stock ATMs with R50 banknotes.

These measures are being implemented as part of efforts to ensure the health and safety of the population and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

CBS is closely monitoring the situation and will ensure that as part of their business continuity plans, all banking institutions take necessary steps to adapt their operations as and when the situation evolves.

 

Communiqué from the Central Bank of Seychelles

 

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