Media Release Payment Card Access Regimes

The Payments System Board of the Reserve Bank has decided in principle to vary the Access Regimes applying to the designated MasterCard and Visa systems in Australia and to seek removal of the current specialist credit card institution (SCCI) framework, administered by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). The decision follows two public consultations over the past year.

The Bank has concluded that, while the original Access Regimes were appropriate when introduced, changes in industry structure and in the ownership of the card systems have meant that the regimes might now be unduly restricting access. Accordingly, the proposed framework will provide the card systems with the flexibility to expand membership beyond existing participants. The systems will be required to have in place transparent eligibility and assessment criteria and to report information about membership and applications to the Bank.

The implementation of the varied Access Regimes by the Bank is contingent on several factors. Most importantly, the variations can only be effective if they occur in conjunction with the repeal of Regulation 4 of the Banking Regulations 1966. The Bank will liaise with APRA and the Commonwealth Treasury on any required changes. The Bank expects that the variations should become effective later in the year.


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