Proposed Variation to the MasterCard and Visa Access Regimes: Consultation Document – December 2013 8. Draft Variation to the Access Regimes

Drafts of varied Access Regimes in line with the approach outlined in Option 2 of Section 6 are set out in Attachment 2. The principal changes from the existing Access Regimes are outlined below.

There are several potential changes in relation to eligibility to apply to participate in each of the three schemes in Australia. First, specialist credit card institutions (SCCIs) would be defined to include entities that were SCCIs as at a date to be specified. Eligibility to participate in the schemes would be extended to these entities as well as authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs). Second, each scheme would now have the ability to make other entities eligible to apply to participate by applying eligibility criteria that are reasonably related to the risks to the scheme or its participants, merchants or cardholders.

Each scheme would retain the ability to establish and apply any criteria to assess applications from eligible applicants for participation in the scheme in Australia. Each scheme would continue to be prohibited from discriminating between ADIs and SCCIs in exercising this ability and in relation to the rights and obligations of participants. However, this ‘no-discrimination’ provision would now be extended to cover any entity or class of entity, and would apply only to the extent that discrimination is not reasonably required to assess and address risks to the scheme or its participants, merchants or cardholders.

The draft regimes also incorporate potential changes to transparency and reporting requirements. Each scheme would be required to publish on its website its eligibility and assessment criteria and the risks the criteria seek to address, as well as the maximum time it will take to make a decision on any application. An annual certificate would be required from each scheme, detailing its compliance with the Access Regime and certain facts about applications to participate (e.g. date of each application and its assessment, its outcome and date of notification to the applicant, reasons for rejecting an application). A list of entities that ceased to be participants in each scheme during the year would also be required, together with the reasons they are no longer participants.