The Productivity Commission (PC) released its Inquiry report into Competition in the Australian Financial System recently. Here are the key takeaways for retailers after the PC’s recommendations:
Payments System: The ARA submitted to the PC regarding access to least-cost routing for dual-network cards and interchange fee regulation. The PC recommended:
- A ban on card payment interchange fees by late-2019. The ARA does not fully support this recommendation as this would only apply to regulated schemes such as eftpos, Visa and Mastercard, as well as introducing the potential for other merchant payments costs to increase.
- An investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Payments System Board into regulating card schemes other than eftpos, Visa and Mastercard, including their fees. The ARA called for this to occur in our submission and we are fully supportive of this recommendation. This investigation should be completed by mid-2019.
- Regulation to ensure that retailers can choose the default network to route transactions for dual-network cards by January 2019. The ARA fully supports this recommendation, which preserves choice for retailers and lowers payments costs. See our other work on dual network routing here.
Payments Technology and Competition: The ARA submitted to the PC calling for better regulation to improve consistency and lower the costs of new payments technologies such as AliPay and WeChat, as well as improving access to technologies including ApplePay.
- The PC recommended that the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) should be more hands-on in its approach to new payments products.
- The PC also recommended that ASIC should update the ePayments Code by late 2019 to reflect changes in payments technology and improve accountability and participation.