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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks

Indian e-commerce sites that levy "convenience" fees or transaction charges on card payments

Unlike popular shopping sites, there are some Indian e-commerce sites that levy "convenience" fees and/or transaction charges (when a credit or debit card is involved) without clearly specifying it upfront. It is especially mis-leading when online travel booking websites announce discounts but later charge a convenience fees that negates that benefit.

Most Indians who have transacted on the LIC and IRCTC websites - two of the most user unfriendly sites of organizations with Government backing, with debit or credit cards may have got a taste of the additional fees. Deepak Shenoy of Capital Mind makes a valid argument that LIC should absorb the cost of a card transaction as other forms of bill payment would cost them more money to process. Another blogger finds it "ironical that although electronic payments work out to be cheaper for banks than cash and cheque, they are inclined to charging merchants and customers for transaction charges on credit cards and debit cards".

Here is a list of sites that I have come across which levy convenience fees or transaction charges on card payments and possible alternatives I've found that don't charge:

$ LIC - card payments are processed through BillDesk, Axis, IDBI payment gateways - each of which charge different "convenience" fees. BillDesk & Axis charge Rs 12 + 12.36% service tax for debit card payments. IDBI charges 0.75% for debit card payments upto Rs 1600 and a flat Rs 12 for payments above Rs 1600 + 12.36% service tax.

$ IRCTC - for train ticket reservations, transaction charges vary according to bank issuing the card. There is a transaction charge of Rs. 5/- per transaction through IRCTC eWallet. According to IRCTC, Bank of Baroda, IDBI Bank payment don't charge anything when the transaction is through Net/Mobile Banking facility. For flight reservations, proudly advertises that it doesn't charge a convenience fee but Payment Gateway charges have to "be borne by the customer". These charges exclude service tax as applicable by PG and when I last checked it could be approximately Rs. 584.

$ Domestic airline companies like Indigo, Spice Jet that sell their tickets online charge a non-refundable Convenience Fee of Rs.100 (or equivalent amount in other currencies) from each passenger.

$ Online travel agencies like ClearTrip, MakeMyTrip, Yaatra keep revising their convenience fees

$ Bangalore One in Karnataka, eSeva Online in AP - alternativemost banks process online utility bill payments for free

work in progress...

Also see: Indian comparison shopping sites

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