REVIEW OF CARD PAYMENTS REGULATION

Following consideration by the Payments System Board at its February meeting, the Reserve Bank of Australia has released an Issues Paper to commence a review of the regulatory framework for card payments.

The review follows a recommendation in the Final Report of the Financial System Inquiry (FSI) that the Board consider a range of measures related to card payments regulation, particularly in relation to interchange fees and surcharging. Some of the FSI recommendations relate to issues where the Bank and the Board have previously noted some concerns about recent developments.

The Issues Paper, Review of Card Payments Regulation, seeks industry and stakeholder views on the regulation of card payments and discusses a number of possible options.

The Board recognises that a review of regulation involves complex issues, and that some potential reforms would need an extended period for consultation and implementation. Accordingly, the paper also invites submissions identifying possible actions to improve the effectiveness of the Bank’s regulations, particularly in relation to surcharging, that could be implemented on a faster timeline. The Board will also consider any submissions on card payments regulation made in response to the current Government consultation on the FSI recommendations.

Waiver of Interchange Benchmark Recalculation

The Board has also made a decision on the calculation of the interchange fee benchmarks applying to designated card schemes. In light of the review of card payments regulation and to ensure that it does not impose unnecessary compliance obligations, the Bank will waive the recalculation of the benchmarks that would otherwise be required by 30 September 2015. Accordingly, the obligation to comply with the Bank’s interchange fee standards as of 1 November 2015 will be based on the current benchmark levels.