Obligation to accept payments through credit cards
Ministers issue Decree for the obligation to accept payments through credit cards
The Council of Minsters issued a Decree on the 18th June 2021 regarding the obligation to accept payments through credit cards. The Decree was published in the Government Gazette on the same day.
According to the Decree, retail stores and service providers whose activities are within the scope of the Decree (the “relevant activities”) are obliged to accept payment cards as a means of payment during the conclusion of transactions with customers. They are also obliged to notify their customers of their ability to pay through payment cards in a manner that is clear and not subject to misinterpretation, and such notifications should be clearly visible at the entrance and at the payment desk.
The relevant activities are listed in detail as an Appendix to the Decree, which can be found here. These include most retail and wholesale stores, professional services, hospitality, education, and health services.
The Ministry of Finance has clarified that companies active in the sectors of manufacturing, electricity, water provision, transport and communications (publishing, movie production, television and radio shows and computer programming) are exempt from the obligation to accept card payments.
Businesses that are within the scope of the Decree are obliged to comply with its provisions as follows:
- Businesses already engaged in relevant activities must comply within 3 months from the date of issue of the Decree.
- Businesses that will commence a relevant activity during the last 30 days prior to the expiry of the 3-month deadline must comply within 4 months from the date of issue of the Decree.
- Businesses that will commence a relevant activity (or will modify their existing activity) after the expiry of the 3-month deadline must comply within 1 month from commencement (or modification) of the activity.
According to the Decree, a business carrying out a relevant activity is considered to be in compliance with the provisions of the Decree if the payment is carried out through wired or wireless POS, mobile POS, virtual POS, as well as other applications which accept payment cards.
The Decree clarifies that a cardless credit transfer, a direct debit, or any alternative means of service such as e-banking are not considered to be a card terminal.
Businesses within the scope of the Decree are obliged to accept means of card payment that have been issued through a four-party scheme (e.g. VISA, Master Card, Maestro, Union Pay), and are not obliged to accept means of payment through a three-party scheme.
Further, businesses within the scope of the Decree are obliged to contract with licensed payment system providers according to “The Provision and Use of Payment Services and Access to Payment Systems Law”.
The Tax department is the competent authority responsible for the carrying out of audits, the assessment of any violations and the imposition of administrative fines.