New website to test banks on merchant fees

A well-credentialed Australian payments consultancy is preparing to enter the comparison shopping field, with the launch of a pricing website aimed at online and point-of-sale merchants.

The service aims to be the first independent shopping site for retailers to compare the pricing of their current bank or payments gateway to that of alternative merchant acquirers.

Merchant Pricing Hub (www.merchantpricing.com) is the brainchild of Payments Consulting Network, a national financial services advisory company headed by experienced payments industry executive, Mangala Martinus.

Australian small businesses have traditionally been price-takers of merchant services supplied by the banks because the market segment is widely recognised as having one of the most opaque pricing structures in the payments industry.

The service will remove information barriers that currently make it difficult for small and large merchants to research the pricing and features of acquirers’ offerings.

Unlike retail comparison sites out there, Merchant Pricing Hub will not collect fees for introducing merchants to payments acquirers or gateways. Nor will the service levy a fee on merchant acquirers to have their bundled payments offers listed on the site. The business case for the comparison site will hinge on its ability to generate advisory work for the parent company.

Payments Consulting Network, with a client list that includes the likes of ANZ, NAB, Westpac, Bank of Queensland, Cuscal, Bendigo Bank, CUA, RediATM and Cardtronics, is hoping to win mandates from large merchants to help negotiate their merchant service agreements with payments providers.

Product and pricing data for the site will be sourced mostly from a database maintained by Payments Consulting Network. Merchant Pricing Hub will also operate a star ratings system, which will be based on the judgements of merchants who use the site.

The response from payments providers to the new site had been positive, particularly from regional banks and payments gateways.

Article by George Lekakis originally published at www.bankingday.com

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