Pressure mounting on banks to slash payWave fees, explore alternative payment options for struggling businesses

Pressure is mounting on banks to slash payWave fees or explore alternative payment options in a bid to help struggling businesses.

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But without Government involvement it’ll be hard to get the big players onboard. Source: 1 NEWS

Paymark says “open banking" which includes things like facial recognition technology is a solution with minimal cost.

While the number of people using payWave has since doubled from pre-Covid-19 shopping, fees for businesses using the contactless payment system - waived by most banks until the end of June - will soon make its return.

Retail New Zealand’s Greg Harford says the “biggest challenge” for businesses at the moment is survival.

“If anything can be done to bring those fees down to help retailers keep them on is a good thing for consumers and businesses alike,” he said.

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Fees are currently waived until the end of June. Source: 1 NEWS

There is currently a two to three per cent fee for retailers on all payWave transactions.

Small businesses want banks to permanently halt Paywave fees

Now, Paymark says it has a new solution for when the waived payWave fees lapses.

"What we're looking at with open banking is enabling digital forms of payment, so for example, you would be able to use your mobile phone to access your bank account using your banking app and make payments from it,” Paymark CEO Maxine Elliott said.

“Open banking” will only cost retailers one per cent of the transaction or less. However, it requires access to people’s data and cooperation from banks.

"We really need now to start moving on and a way that all the banks can come onboard and you can start to provide Kiwis new, innovative payments."

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They’re baulking at the cost of providing the contactless payments. Source: 1 NEWS

Change needs to be driven by the Government, however, and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi says he’s disappointed in its progress.

Mr Faafoi would like Cabinet to consider whether a consumer data rights system is appropriate for the country.

Open banking will give consumers greater choice over how they make payments, including facial recognition, giving merchants your phone number and accepting the payment through a banking app.

It will also see small businesses keep more money in their pockets.

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One Auckland bar manager says it costs one staff member’s salary to pay the cost of Paywave.

Last week, Christchurch's Grain Coffee and Eatery told 1 NEWS their annual payWave fees would be the equivalent of a part-time barista’s yearly wages.

“That definitely frustrates me that there’s a cheaper alternative out there I'm not aware of," Grain Coffee and Eatery’s Bushra Aljinidi said.