Debit card payment system discussions opened

The Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) Payment Systems Board (PSB) met today (August 17th) to discuss the future of multi-network debit cards.

Policymakers want to see debit cards that allow payments on more networks become more widespread as they provide an extra layer of convenience to cardholders.

The PSB noted that multi-network cards will also promote competition between networks at the point of sale, but has concerns that new contactless payment systems will hamper the development of a more open payments network – which would be damaging for Aussie shoppers.

"These developments have the potential, in the board's view, to inhibit competition, limit choice to consumers and increase costs," the PSB said.

Contactless payment is quickly becoming commonplace in Australia. Earlier this month, Westpac launched a new mobile payments system that has the potential to change the face of banking Down Under.

Westpac's head of mortgages, cards and merchants Axel Boye-Moller believes that online and mobile transactions will soon be the norm.

The bank's mobile payment system is part of a collaboration with MasterCard, and will allow Aussies to use mobile handsets powered by the Android operating system to interact with PayPass payment terminals using near field communications (NFC) technology.

Mr Boye-Moller added: "Mobile banking represents a significant change in the way customers and banks do business and Westpac customers will be instrumental in helping design the final application."

Online shopping is also on the rise, with figures from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) showing that spending over the internet climbed by 36 per cent last year.

The CBA believes that the next three to four years will see online expenditure rise dramatically as Aussies realise the benefits of shopping remotely. While security was once an issue, Australians now trust online retailers – particularly large reputable ones.

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