eftpos squares up to payWave threat with new contactless card

eftpos squares up to payWave threat with new contactless card
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An eftpos contactless card is set to hit the market in the next twelve months and is currently undergoing internal trials with a number of banks.

Currently, eftpos moves around half of all card transactions - credit, charge and debit - in Australia which total more than $130 billion annually. 

Yet despite its historical position in the market, eftpos managing director Bruce Mansfield, told the Future of Payments in Financial Services conference, held in Sydney last week, that the payment firm’s growth rates are slowing, as a result of more people using online, mobile and contactless payments via the likes of Visa and MasterCard’s payWave – platforms that don’t offer eftpos transactions.

To shore up its market share, eftpos is fighting back with a card that comes with a chip that allows for a multi-network approach to contactless cash payments.

This means consumers and merchants will be able to choose the eftpos network or a card scheme network, be it Visa, MasterCard or AMEX for contactless payment,” says Mansfield.

Apart from announcing the impending contactless card, Mr Mansfield also applauded the new Federal Government’s decision to consider a comprehensive review of Australia’s financial system.

“This will ensure that we continue to have a world-leading industry and regulatory system here in Australia,” says Mansfield.

“While it is clearly a matter for them, we will certainly be encouraging the Government to consider payments in this review and to ensure that Australia continues to promote choice and competition in this rapidly changing market.”

To that end, Mansfield says the recent announcement by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) about multi-network debit cards is a positive outcome for competition and choice.

While there will be some indirect benefits for consumers from the eftpos initiative, winning over merchants will prove the major battlefield for the warring payment systems, according to Sky Business financial commentator, Lisa Montgomery.

“Merchants are always looking for commercial efficiency and cost effective measures that can deliver lower costs to their customers,” says Ms Montgomery.

“That said consumers will benefit as merchants pass on lower costs, while a payment system that gets us out of a supermarket or service station will win plenty of brownie points.”

Montgomery also warns that security issues attached to contactless cards must also be addressed.

“We’re seeing more sophisticated scams overseas where contactless cards are involved, which are not only separating consumers from their money but causing significant loses for financial institutions,” says Montgomery.

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