ANZ, the “odd bank out” using its own Eftpos New Zealand rather than the PayMark/ETSL consortium, is considering the idea of interbank collaboration on chip cards.
“I can confirm that Visa has approached ANZ with a very brief [collaborative] concept for further discussion,” says ANZ spokesman Steve Fisher.
“The concept is in its formative stage, but in essence it floated the idea about [New Zealand] banks sharing the set up costs of implementing the chip technology,” he says.
“We are interested in talking to Visa again but need to see the concept further developed before we make any decisions about our involvement.
“ANZ is well advanced with chip technology already,” he says. “We pioneered it in New Zealand and with Eftpos New Zealand have been setting up an infrastructure and issuing cards for over a year.”
There has been a good uptake of chip-enabled terminals, he says, with about 6000 in the hands of merchants.
However, the uptake of ANZ’s chip-card brand, the Zed card, “has been slower than initially anticipated”, Fisher acknowledges.
“We always knew there was a risk when we launched that we didn’t have enough functionality on the card initially to make it a compelling offer. Yet we decided to pioneer it anyway and set up the infrastructure.
“We shouldn’t forget that there is a clear agreement within Visa membership that all Visa-branded cards will be chip enabled within five years. So we are confident in the product. We also know that Kiwis are big on the uptake of new technology, but that it isn’t always taken up immediately,” he says. For example, it took a couple of goes to get Eftpos in. Now, unlike other countries, we couldn’t do without it.”
ANZ perceives loyalty programmes as one of the chief advantages of the Zed card, and will be launching two new Zed loyalty programmes next year. These “will make the card much more compelling”, he says.
PC Eftpos, Eftpos New Zealand’s integrated platform linking retailer point-of-sale systems to the Eftpos payment network, does not accept chip cards, but a development enabling that platform to read the chip for financial transactions is under way, Fisher says.
“Subsequent developments will enable the retailer to participate in Zed programmes. This will mean a greater number, and higher profile retailers will be able to participate in the Zed Instant Rewards and retailer loyalty programmes.”