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Table of Contents

Lead Story

The payments sphere 2009:
Looking back, looking up

News

Industry Update

Radiant, Computer World in the lawsuit soup

Mobile payments at a crossroads

Tweaking interchange down under

NEAA preview

Features

GS Advisory Board:
The best moves of 2009 - Part II

The payments industry numbers game:
Volume over price

Research Rundown

Selling Prepaid

Prepaid in brief

Mercator of good cheer about gift cards

Unbanked + underbanked Americans top 60 million

Patti Murphy
The Takoma Group

Signs of the future

Views

Reaching the unbanked

Patti Murphy
The Takoma Group

Should you buy stock in a terminal manufacturer?

Brandes Elitch
CrossCheck Inc.

Education

Street SmartsSM:
Time management for 2010

Jon Perry and Vanessa Lang
888QuikRate.com

Fighting the payment squeeze:
Alternatives retailers may consider

Pat Morgan
Total System Services Inc.

Fees you can't ignore

Ken Musante
Moneris Solutions

Managing conflict in the workplace

Vicki M. Daughdrill
Small Business Resources LLC

Defining global processing

Caroline Hometh
Payvision

POS Horoscope 2010

Dale S. Laszig
DSL Direct LLC

Company Profile

Litle & Co.

New Products

Slip-on terminal mobility

PAYware Mobile
VeriFone

Front-end tokenization

SafeDebit
NYCE Payments Network LLC

Inspiration

Be the sale

Departments

Forum

Resource Guide

Datebook

A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

December 28, 2009  •  Issue 09:12:02

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Tweaking interchange down under

The Reserve Bank of Australia is loosening the reins on certain interchange limitations. In a meeting in late November 2009, the RBA changed its regulatory stance so a new, homegrown electronic funds transfer (EFT)/POS network - EFTPOS Payments Australia Limited (EPAL) - can compete with Visa Inc. and MasterCard Worldwide. RBA raised the new network's limit on interchange from between 4 and 5 cents to 12 cents per transaction.

As is the case in the United States, financial institutions in Australia often issue debit cards to holders of demand deposit accounts (checking accounts). The cards, which require PIN authorization, can be used to access funds either at ATMs or at the POS. They are branded by issuing financial institutions and are processed according to various bilateral agreements, with interchange flowing from card issuers to merchant acquirers.

The RBA, Australia's central bank, estimates 85 percent of the nation's POS debit transactions over the past year have been initiated using such ATM/POS cards. The RBA, which closely regulates card interchange in Australia, has set an acceptable range for interchange on these EFT/POS transactions of between 4 and 5 cents, payable to the acquirer.

In addition to homegrown cards, many Australian financial institutions also issue multifunction (credit and debit) Visa- and MasterCard-branded cards; when used as debit cards, these are authorized either by PIN or signature. The RBA limits the interchange on these transactions to 12 cents, which under Visa and MasterCard rules gets paid to issuers.

Fighting for POS debit share

Visa and MasterCard have been actively promoting POS debit in Australia, and that has resulted in rapid growth in these transactions. During the first nine months of 2009, for example, Visa Debit and Debit MasterCard payments by Australians grew by 37 percent, according to the RBA.

In May, a group of leading Australian financial institutions and two large supermarket chains formed the domestically owned and operated EPAL, which Australians can access using their bank-issued ATM debit cards. The network competes directly with MasterCard and Visa.

EPAL was having difficulty getting off the ground, however, in part because it was being held to the interchange limits for other non-Visa/MasterCard branded EFT/POS transactions - between 4 and 5 cents. The new ruling from the RBA makes it clear that EPAL transactions are to be held to the same parameters as Visa Debit and Debit MasterCard transactions: maximum interchange of 12 cents per transaction, payable to card issuers.

Existing bilateral agreements for EFT/POS transactions were left untouched by the RBA ruling, and acceptable interchange for these transactions remains at between 4 and 5 cents, payable to the acquirer.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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Spotlight Innovators:

North American Bancard | USAePay | Super G Capital LLC | Humboldt Merchant Services | Impact Paysystems | Electronic Merchant Systems