Payment for refueling cars in Thimphu can now be done with a swipe of a card. The Royal Monetary Authority (RMA), the department of trade and the banks launched the Internet-based Point of Sales (PoS) at fuel stations yesterday.

With the PoS at fuel stations, one can pay for fuel with their ATM or debit cards. After the payment, the individual will receive a receipt and will have to sign for identification. This was introduced to promote the use of digital payment services and to reduce the use of physical cash at fuel stations where there are high cash transactions.

The promotion of digital payment services would minimise costs associated with printing currency notes, currency sorting, cash movements and transfers, storage and security, stated a RMA press release.

According to the Governor, there are 87,612 vehicles plying on 11,177km of road in the country. Of this, 2,200 are pool vehicles, 5,500 vehicles are under DHI and 532 are taxis. “For the government, every transaction such as service charge or tax, or the volume of petrol and diesel sold are recorded digitally,” Governor Penjore said. “We would now be able to determine all of this data.”

He added the service would promote transparency in government organisations and also help curb the misuse of cash in the business firms.

BoB Fuel Card is a payment card issued to corporations, government agencies and any office to be used for fueling their pool vehicles at fuel stations. The PoS service is enabled through the Bhutan Financial Switch, a centralised payment platform that allows interoperability of Credit, Debit/ ATM Cards among the member banks.

General Manager at Damchen Petroleum Distributer, Karma Yoenten said, “We have launched the PoS at the station and it is now easy to pay from any kind of ATM cards.” The functioning of the PoS will rely on the quality of the Internet connection.

According to BoB Card Officer Ashik Pradhan, the network will be reliable because the Wi Fi would be dedicated for fuel payment only.

The Bank of Bhutan distributed the PoS machines for free to the five fuel stations in the capital. The staff at the fuel stations has been trained to use the portable PoS.  The service will be extended to Paro and Phuentsholing next.

Economic affairs minister Lekey Dorji, who launched the service said this is one step towards a cashless transaction.

Phurpa Lhamo and Rinchen Zangmo