Proposed Variation to the MasterCard and Visa Access Regimes: Consultation Document – December 2013 2. Background

The Bank established Access Regimes for the Bankcard, MasterCard and Visa systems in 2004 and 2005, in response to concerns that the schemes had not struck a balance between competition and the control of risks that was in the public interest. During consultation at that time, the card schemes and authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) argued that prudential supervision of scheme members was necessary to ensure scheme safety.

In establishing the Access Regimes, the Bank worked with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) to create a new class of ADI, specialist credit card institutions (SCCIs), accompanied by an amendment to the Banking Regulations 1966 that declared credit card issuing and acquiring to be banking business. This allowed non-deposit-taking entities to apply to APRA for authorisation to undertake issuing or acquiring activities and become eligible to apply to join the MasterCard and Visa systems. The Access Regimes also prevented schemes from discriminating between types of ADIs (including SCCIs) and between issuers and acquirers. Since the introduction of these arrangements, two entities have gained SCCI status in Australia.