Dubai: Residents have said the ban on credit card use at petrol stations was an additional bother they do not need and is bound to create longer waiting times at the pumps as people will be unprepared.

Starting Saturday all Emarat, Enoc and Eppco stations will not accept credit cards for payment. Only self-branded store credit or smart cards will be accepted as well as cash.

According to industry sources, banks and petrol stations are in discussions about Emarat and Enoc's decision to ban credit cards at their outlets while a Ministry of Economy officials has said no laws have been broken.

Abdullah Al Saleh, an undersecretary at the Ministry of Economy, said the issue has nothing to do with consumer protection as there is no legal provision to force companies to accept credit cards. "I do not see a conflict with the Consumer Protection Law. It is their [companies] policy how they want to sell their services," he said.

Rima Hassan, 21, a student from Lebanon said she has trouble keeping up with her Salik payments so topping up a pre-paid card for petrol will be a hassle.

"In the beginning it will be a problem before people get used to it. People depend on cards as it is not often that you have cash on you," said Hassan.

Dubai resident Golda Arthurs, 39, from India said the new system will not help consumers at all. "It's ironic because they develop parking meters you have to pay with a card and then they make you pay for petrol with cash. Using a credit card generally facilitates everything you do but banning it is going to make life a bit more difficult," said Arthurs.

According to a bank official the increase in fees levied for accepting credit card payment has only risen 0.2 per cent.

"The fees increased about a year ago for petrol stations from 1.35 per cent to 1.4 per cent for each transaction and petrol stations were fine with it for a year. It was recently increased again by 0.2 per cent to 1.65 per cent," said a banking source.

"Petrol stations are not supposed to charge customers because it is not part of the agreement between banks and petrol stations. Now all concerned parties are in talks," he said.

Spokespersons for some of the major banks in Dubai were unavailable for comment yesterday whilst some banks remained closed. Officials from petrol companies were also unavailable.