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Paymark and ASB in online EFTPOS 'soft launch'. Service open to retailers and other banks

Paymark and ASB in online EFTPOS 'soft launch'. Service open to retailers and other banks

By Gareth Vaughan

Paymark, in partnership with ASB, has online EFTPOS up and running through a soft launch, and is keen to attract other banks and retailers to ramp up competition with Visa and Mastercard.

Tim McFarlane, Paymark's chief marketing officer, told launching with ASB means online EFTPOS is available to the bank's about 700,000 mobile application (app) users, and it's available as a payment option for merchants to accept on Paymark's website.

The online EFTPOS launch comes after Paymark ran a pilot project, with ASB and the Child Cancer Foundation, last year.

A "couple of large merchants" are close to going live, but McFarlane wouldn't name any. He also said Paymark's talking to ANZ, BNZ, Kiwibank and Westpac about them potentially adopting online EFTPOS, plus other, smaller banks.

"We've got ASB as our launch bank, we've got a multi-bank API [application programming interface]. So any other bank can now integrate with us and offer this across their entire customer portfolio," said McFarlane. "We want all the banks onboard."

He said there was "a lot of interest" from merchants, including some "pretty big named" ones.

"In their world it's another option for customers. We're getting to a customer group that they couldn't previously get to, so anyone who doesn't have a scheme product, scheme debit, scheme credit. Anyone that's in the youth market who isn't 16, but has a bank account. And of course a lot cheaper for the merchant to accept than other alternatives," McFarlane said.

Government watching

The online EFTPOS launch comes after Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Goldsmith recently issued a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) issues paper on New Zealand's retail payment systems. MBIE says market dynamics suggest cause for concern in both the credit and debit card markets, with Goldsmith saying the Government "is prepared to consider regulatory options" if competition fails to moderate retail payments costs.

Bundled in with other forms of payment, including Click, online EFTPOS pricing is based on transaction volumes with a monthly price and no contracts.

The details from Paymark's website are below. Paymark says merchants/retailers processing more than 2,000 transactions per month should "get in touch."

The prices are higher than the $13.50 a month plus GST for a terminal that retailers are paying for traditional EFTPOS. However, McFarlane is keen to point out they're cheaper than the percentage of a transaction value charged by the Visa and Mastercard "schemes." He also argues that merchants haven't previously had an alternative to schemes online. For context, and by way of comparison, here's ANZ's merchant service fee pricing, including Visa and Mastercard fees.

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about bloody time. If they had done this 15 years ago, visa and mastercard would never have gotten a foot hold in the debit card market here.