Payments developments around the globe has mobile commerce taking off across southeast Asia, card swipe fees and surcharges on the hotseat in Australia and New Zealand, foreign card players are facing an easier than expected time entering Chinese marketplaces while PayTM is pushing hard for its Payment Bank in India.

  • MasterCard Says New Zealand Swipe Fees Unavoidable

Responding a recent call by Retail NZ to legally force payments firms to disclose any and all the fees they charge merchants, MasterCard has responded that the fees it charges merchants are both unavoidable and not a revenue stream for the company, according to an Australian news report.

“Interchange fees cover a range of costs borne by the card issuer including but not limited to interest free days, fraud prevention, bad debt and innovation. Interchange balances the costs consumers and merchants pay,” MasterCard’s New Zealand country manager Peter Chisnall said. “MasterCard does not earn anything from interchange.”

The call for additional transparency in fees follows a study that indicates New Zealand’s merchants pay higher fees for both credit and cardless transactions than their U.K. and Australian counterparts.


  • Australian Senate Explores The Costs Of Surcharges


Australian Senators are investigating claims of consumer advocate Klaus Bartosch that skyrocketing credit surcharges will soon begin undermining business. Bartosh further noted average merchant fee for MasterCard and Visa was 0.81 percent, but that surcharges often clocked in at 23 times that amount, according to a report in The Guardian.

“It undermines consumer confidence, will undermine consumer spending and ultimately business will lose,” Bartosch said, also noting that airlines were the worst offenders.


  • Nambia Launches Vision 20/20- A New National Payments System


The Bank of Namibia, Payments Association of Namibia (PAN) a few commercial banks and other payment industry stakeholder in-nation jointly launched Nambia’s newest national payments platform called Vision 20/20 last week. The new system will allow for easier electronic money transfer, better security and more transparency in account creation and management, according to a story in The Namibian.

“The international payments industry is trending towards e-money services. For Namibia, e-money is crucial to growth in unbanked sectors of the population,” central bank governor Ipumbu Shiimi said.

Shiimi also reports that as of this year the number of basic bank accounts held at commercial banks have reached 136,200.


  • PayTM Payments Bank Pushes On (Despite Hurdles)


PayTM founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma is reportedly considering diluting up to 1 percent of his own stake in the firm (technically, the firm’s holding company) to financially support the Payment Bank that the mobile payments and e-commerce is developing, according to a report in The Tech Portal.

India’s Central Bank requires Sharma to own 51 percent of the payment bank. The remainder can be held by corporate entities.

Paytm, however, is avidly pushing ahead on its payments bank. The firm has said that it will hire about 3,000 employees for its payment bank operations by June next year.

“Hiring for Paytm’s Payment Bank is a key focus area. We have planned to get on board about 3,000 people from banking and nonbanking backgrounds like FMCG, telecom, consulting etc.,” Paytm vice president Amit Sinha said.

The Payment bank is designed for individuals and small businesses looking for deposits, remittance services and mobile/web banking. The bank will also be able to issue ATM card.


  • Mobile Shopping On The Rise In Shanghai And Hong Kong


Chinese consumers are doing ever more mobile payments from buying meals, to hailing cabs to ordering up a house call from a doctor.

Buying online, receiving offline (O2O) is a fast up and comer in China, according to Credit Suisse – with growth forecasted to grow at a compound annual rate of 63 percent between now and 2017, according to a report in The Financial Times.

And its venues are on the march, with phone swipes now buying a dental appointment, haircut or fish head, depending on customer need.

Meanwhile in Hong Kong, new data indicates that mobile is also on the rise. According to a study by Visa, online shopping via mobile is up 23 percent from 2014. The study also found 79 percent of Hong Kong shopper browse by phone, 58 percent buy that way and 42 percent shop will commuting.


  • Hong Kong Utilities Deny Connections To Payment App


Hongkong Electric Co. Ltd., CLP Power Hong Kong Ltd. and The Hong Kong and China Gas Co. Ltd. (Towngas) have all formally stated that they are not connected to TnG, a local mobile payment app that putatively helps customers pay their bills, said a story in EJ Insight.

The issue arose after customers who used the apps found their bills had not yet been paid, and became concerned about a scam.

TnG founder Alex Kong noted that they have as yet no partnerships in place with Hong Kong’s utilities and that the firm is paying bills manually on behalf of those who paid online. That is the case until such arrangements can be made to pay directly.


  • China Won’t Make It Hard For Foreign Bank Card Firms


Senior PBOC sources have confirmed that China will not look to place tough licensing restrictions on overseas bank card providers seeking to enter  for the first time, reports Reuters.

“We will actively and cautiously open up China’s card payment market according to laws and regulations, and encourage fair competition,” Fan Yifei, a vice governor at the People’s Bank of China told a conference.

Chinese officials announced in April that it would allow foreign firms to enter the Chinese card market, currently valued at around $7 billion.


  • Verifone Acquires Inter-Card AG


Verifone has announced its German plans acquire payment-as-a-service provider InterCard, according to a report in Mobile Payments Today.

“This announcement reaffirms our commitment to meeting the needs of our retail clients who are increasingly seeking new services and assistance as they grow across Europe,” June Felix, president of Verifone Europe, said in a news release. “The acquisition of InterCard will provide retailers with access to a fuller suite of payment acceptance services across the continent.”

Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed and is dependent on the approval of the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, BaFin, and the German Federal Cartel Office, Bundeskartellamt.