Internationally, several countries are considering how to best regulate the payments industry but here in New Zealand we are already well placed and have the solution they are all looking for.

The challenge is how to manage costs for both retailers and consumers alike while encouraging competition and increasing innovation.

It’s a difficult balancing act as some of the key players, the credit card schemes and banks, can spread their costs over multiple jurisdictions among a variety of billing models while consumers and retailers in New Zealand are stuck with what’s presented to them.

In Australia there are moves afoot to create a “stronger, unified entity that will aim to reduce costs, increase innovation and efficiency, and be better able to compete with the growing scale of overseas multinational payment platforms,” which is something I’m sure we’d all like to see.

In Europe, moves are underway to build a “unified payment solution” that would become a new standard across the continent. It would allow shoppers and retailers to have a single standard regardless of which country in Europe you were conducting business. Paymark’s parent company Worldline is heavily engaged in making that a reality for its European customers.

Here in New Zealand we’re already a step ahead because we have a solution already in place. Paymark is the domestic payments network that can deliver exactly what both Australia and the EU are trying to achieve.

We connect banks, retailers, card providers and shoppers together in a low-cost solution that ensures all shoppers have a fast and frictionless transaction process. For decades we were the envy of the world and now that they’re trying to catch up, it seems New Zealand is determined to throw it away and pay the credit card schemes fees to use money that’s sitting in our own bank accounts.

Paymark itself is agnostic when it comes to how payments enter the system. Whether it’s by contactless card, swiping an EFTPOS card or inserting a chip card in a reader, Paymark processes all transaction types.

This puts New Zealand retailers and bankers in a very strong position as the world moves away from plastic cards in wallets and towards smartphone applications and open banking standards that allow new financial tech (or fintech) companies to bring new services to market.

The Minister for Small Business, Stuart Nash and Minister of Commerce, David Clark, have started a process whereby the government is looking to regulate the fees banks and card schemes charge retailers but there is another alternative.

We suggest that any regulation should seek to preserve domestic payment networks as these provide competition to the international scheme and that targeted interventions, such as allowing alternative routing options, could be introduced quickly to markedly reduce merchant fees.

Payments shouldn’t be a major part of any interaction between customers and retailers yet all too often it seems to be the stumbling block to a good experience. By giving the retailers control any unpleasantness around adding card fees or putting “NO CREDIT” and “NO PAYWAVE” stickers on terminals will be removed and everyone wins.

If you’d to discuss what digital payments are right for your business, talk to the team at Paymark.