The surcharge that UAE cardholders are now paying to petrol stations will be shared between the merchants and the acquirers or banks that process the transaction, sources told Gulf News.
Last Sunday, the service stations of Emarat, Enoc and Eppco started accepting Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards  for all transactions including fuel sales. Fuel transactions, however, will now require a service fee of Dh2.
Payments technology company Visa yesterday clarified that the surcharge will not go directly to their coffers, but will be split between the petrol firm and the entity facilitating the card transaction, which in this case is Network International.
“[The Dh2 surcharge] does not go to Visa. In fact, surcharging is a charge administered by a merchant or ATM acquirer on an electronic transaction for a purchase of an item or service. We understand that in this case, this surcharge is shared between the fuel company and banks,” Marcello Baricordi, general manager for Visa in the UAE and Global Accounts lead, told Gulf News.
Bank sources, also confirmed this, citing that the extra charge will be used to offset the operational expenditure incurred by the merchant and the acquirer. “The fee can cover the acquirer’s cost of providing the payment terminals to the merchant, and the merchant’s cost of providing that facility,” a banking official in Dubai said.
Acquirers are financial institutions that facilitate card payment transactions. They can be an independent company or a merchant bank licensed by credit card firms such as Visa or MasterCard.
Network International, a major acquirer and payment solutions provider in the Middle East, has been chosen as the partner for providing payment solutions across the service pumps of Emarat in Dubai, Enoc and Eppco, accepting both Visa and MasterCard.
Fuel distribution companies in the country stopped accepting credit and debit cards for petrol purchases in 2007 due to the high costs involved in providing the service.
Barricordi said they have been working closely with Enoc, Eppco and Emarat to bring back the convenience of electronic payments for cardholders at petrol pumps across the UAE.
“The re-introduction of credit card payments at petrol stations highlights Visa’s efforts to introduce cashless payment solutions that are attractive to customers, partnering banks and merchants,” said Barricordi.
— With additional inputs from Sarah Algethami, Staff Reporter