Option to pay electronically in shops in Belgium could become required by law
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Option to pay electronically in shops in Belgium could become required by law

Credit: Belga

All shops in Belgium could become obliged to offer at least one electronic payment method to their customers according to an action plan to fight fraud, initiated by federal Finance Minister Vincent Van Peteghem.

The plan, which will soon be submitted to the government, will not exclude the possibility of paying in cash, De Tijd reported on Thursday.

“The proposal states all economic actors would be obliged to offer at least one electronic payment system. It will be up to the merchants to choose the format type, but consumers must have the right to pay electronically if they do not have cash at their disposal,” said Van Peteghem.

The aim of this plan is to reduce the use of cash in shops, which in turn will decrease the risk of fraud in certain sectors.

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Although there are no official statistics on the number of shops that do not offer this service, “Belgium loses €3.6 billion in VAT revenue each year”, according to calculations made by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Commission.

The response from unions, including the Union of the Middle Classes (UCM), was mixed, as many of these sectors are “in favour of freedom of acceptance of payment methods,” said Clarisse Ramakers, director of the UCM’s research department.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times