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All businesses obliged to offer electronic payment options from 1 July

Illustration picture shows payment by smartphone in a Delhaize supermarket in Brussels. (BELGA PHOTO THIERRY ROGE)
06:33 28/06/2022

From 1 July, all companies will have to offer an electronic means of payment to their customers, RTBF reports. Some organisations, administrations and small businesses other than commercial enterprises have voiced their concerns about the new regulation.

From Friday, there needs to be an electronic option for any purchase in a cultural centre, swimming pool or a doctor's surgery, for example, not just at a store.

The federal ministry for the economy explains that this new obligation is part of the fight against tax fraud. In addition, more and more consumers are using electronic means to pay for their purchases. The ministry also claims that these means of payment make life easier for companies by saving time, offering more security, simplifying management, lowering costs, etc. They also respond to customer demand. According to the Union of the Middle Classes (UCM), €1.9 billion of purchases were paid by credit card or smartphone last year, twice as much as before the pandemic.

Violators of this new obligation risk a fine of up to €10,000. The UCM asks the authorities for a period of tolerance to allow time for contractors to properly equip themselves.

"I basically only deal with small transactions,” said one independent bookseller in Sterrebeek. “A Bancontact terminal represents a lot of costs while our margins are not very high." To comply with the law, the bookseller will offer his customers the option to pay via the Payconiq system.

Payconiq can be used with a smartphone. Six cents per transaction is withheld from the seller. According to the UCM, it is the cheapest and most flexible means of payment currently available to entrepreneurs.

Applications of this type have developed in recent years. The smartphone is increasingly used to the detriment of bank cards. According to the UCM, 204 million transactions were made via banking applications in 2021, an increase of 62%. Entrepreneurs will also be able to offer payment by bank transfer. All these means will meet the obligation imposed from 1 July. But cash payments will still have to be accepted.

Written by Nick Amies