Media Release Payment Card Access Regimes

The Reserve Bank has varied the Access Regimes for the MasterCard and Visa credit card systems and revoked the Access Regime for the Visa Debit system. The variations and revocation are effective from 1 January 2015.

In March 2014, the Payments System Board made an in-principle decision to modify the Access Regimes. This reflected its conclusion that, while the original Access Regimes were appropriate when introduced, changes in industry structure and in the ownership of the card systems had meant that the regimes were now unduly restricting access. Accordingly, the amended framework will provide the card systems with the flexibility to expand membership beyond existing participants. The card 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 Visa Debit regime was originally introduced to deal with technical issues arising from the interaction of Visa's rules and the credit card Access Regime; these issues no longer apply and accordingly the Visa Debit regime will be revoked.

At the time of its in-principle decision in March, the Board noted that implementation was contingent on a number of other factors. Most importantly, amendment of the Banking Regulations 1966 was required for the variations to be effective. Amendments to the Banking Regulations that mean that credit card issuing and acquiring will no longer be considered banking business come into force on 1 January 2015.


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