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Posted at: Jun 14, 2018, 1:15 AM; last updated: Jun 14, 2018, 1:15 AM (IST)

Payment gateway charges derailing digital India drive

Electricity bills paid through credit, debit card invite extra charges
Payment gateway charges derailing digital India drive
Cash counters at PSPCL offices have limited working hours and open just five days a week. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Kuldip Bhatia

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 13

On one hand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led Central Government has been encouraging people to go “cashless” and make digital transactions and on other hand, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) offer limited options to make online payments.

Majority of consumers across the state have been forced to stand in queues for hours to make pay their electricity bills in cash, which entails no extra charges.

Moroever, paying online bills through debit and credit card invite extra charges whereas payment through net banking attracts no extra charges. However, only a fraction of people have and use net banking facility.

A city-based advocate Nalin Kaushal had lodged a complaint to the deparment concerned that online payment of electricity bills made through debit and credit card attract additional charges. Kaushal said, “This practice discourages people from going cashless and pay for services in cash.”

Meanwhile, grievances cell of the state government reverted and said, “There are many digital options available on the PSPCL website and it is intimated that one can pay electricity bills through net banking and Paytm which is free of cost.” However, the moot point remains as how many consumers use net banking, Paytm or have access to internet.

Many residents to whom The Tribune had a word with said there must be multiple modes of payments which should not invite extra charges. Residents also said that private and public sector banks should be allowed to collect electricity bills which could make life easy.

The PSPCL Chief Engineer Paramjit Singh said, “Extra charges on payment through debit and credit card are levied by payment gateway operators and the power utility receives only the actual amount of bill. We are making efforts to make payment on cash counters hassle-free and cut down waiting period.”

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