Westpac today confirmed it intends to offer least-cost routing to its business customers to provide more choice for accepting contactless debit card payments.
The move will also help to preserve competition in the market by giving merchants the choice to direct contactless debit transactions through the eftpos system, rather than being automatically processed through networks owned by Visa and Mastercard.
Jim Tate, Chief Product Officer for the Business Bank, said Westpac will deliver least-cost routing next year and is in discussions with the Reserve Bank of Australia on its plans.
“Australia has one of the highest adoption rates of contactless payments in the world and now that another card scheme is capable of processing these transactions, we are investing in our payments infrastructure to pass this option onto our merchant customers.
“However more importantly, we are helping to level the playing field for small businesses by continuing to offer simplified merchant pricing that is based on turnover, rather than technology or card schemes,” Mr Tate said.
Russell Zimmerman, Executive Director of the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) supports Westpac’s decision to offer dual network routing. He said it will benefit retailers who are constantly looking for possible ways to lower their operating costs.
“This is a positive move for retailers as merchants shouldn’t be disadvantaged for accepting card payments from customers. McLean Roche Consulting estimates that the current system for routing Dual Network Card transactions is costing our economy in excess of $558 million in additional costs,” Mr Zimmerman said.
The ARA has encouraged other banks and financial institutions to allow merchants to route their transactions via the preferred network.