Media Release Dual-Network Cards and Mobile Wallet Technology: Consultation Paper
The Reserve Bank has today published a consultation paper on dual-network debit cards and mobile wallet technology following discussion of these issues by the Payments System Board at its November meeting.
Dual-network debit cards are debit/ATM cards that allow transactions to be routed through two different networks. They offer convenience for cardholders and enhance the ability of merchants to encourage the use of lower-cost payment methods. Around two-thirds of the debit cards issued in Australia have dual-network functionality.
New technology has enabled mobile devices, such as mobile phones, to be used to make payments via an electronic representation of a payment card, as opposed to a traditional plastic card. The electronic representation of a card is typically contained in a ‘mobile wallet’, which is a software application on a mobile device that enables payments to be made through the card networks. This technology may offer greater convenience for cardholders as it avoids some of the physical limitations of carrying and using multiple plastic cards.
Some stakeholders have recently raised concerns about possible restrictions on competition in the mobile wallet sphere, specifically about conduct that may prevent or make it more difficult for both networks on a dual-network debit card to be enabled on a mobile device. This conduct could have the effect of reducing choice and convenience for cardholders in making mobile payments and reduce the ability of merchants to encourage the use of lower-cost payment methods. This consultation paper discusses these issues and raises a number of specific questions for consultation.
Interested parties are invited to make submissions on the consultation paper by 7 February 2017.