Australian company Centricom has developed technology which allows for online payments straight from users’ bank accounts. Centricom’s Payments online (POLi) supports all the major banks in New Zealand. The company has 15 customers in Australia, but none in New Zealand so far, as no NZ merchants have signed on yet to use the service.
Given that a user’s bank, and the merchant the user wishes to make a payment to, has registered with POLi — and that the user has online banking — the application allows the user to make an instant payment from his or her bank account directly to the merchant. When the user selects POLi as the payment method, and selects his or her bank, the user’s online banking log-on page opens up in a separate browser window. The user logs on as usual and the transaction takes place inside the secure online banking environment, says Simon Warner, CEO of Centricom. Both the consumer and merchant receive an instant receipt. When the payment is made, the user is taken back to the merchant’s website where the payment is confirmed.
“POLi leverages internet banking,” says Warner. “It facilitates a payment. It is not an intermediary or a virtual wallet.”
He says that it is a complementary payment method, not a competitor to credit cards. But as many online consumers don’t have a credit card, POLi fills a gap in the market, he says. According to an AC Nielsen report, 55% of New Zealanders don’t have a credit card, he says. Centricom is partnering with Unisys.