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Debit card provider eftpos unveiled its plans for a national QR code payments network that will enable new payment experiences across ecommerce, mobile and point of sale in Australia.
The announcement comes at a time when Australians are increasingly turning to digital shopping and becoming more familiar with QR code check-in technology as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Debit card holders will be able to use the new system to make payments across online, mobile and instore retail channels via a digital wallet payment method that is integrated with the merchant’s loyalty service provider.
eftpos CEO Stephen Benton said the QR code payments network is designed to facilitate value-added opportunities for merchants and consumers and to drive deeper customer engagement by linking to existing loyalty and reward systems.
“The QR code payments network will enable local home-grown innovation by connecting numerous APIs, consumer digital wallets, and supporting technologies on top of the existing eftpos network rails, providing choice and potential cost savings for local businesses,” Mr Benton said.
The new service, he says, is about re-imagining the Australian payment experience and bringing new digital innovations to consumers and businesses looking to improve efficiency and customer service experiences.
“Digital transactions enabled through the national QR code payments network aim to elevate and enrich the consumer payment experience while driving growth for local businesses.
“Initiating secure purchase transactions using a consumers’ preferred digital wallet unlocks a wealth of extra benefits that will transform the way Australians choose to pay.”
National Online Retailers Association director Adéle Walters-Greenberg told The Australian that QR code payments will bring much-needed competition to the digital payments space as more Aussies shift to the online retail marketplace.
“The move quickly follows off the back of eftpos commencing digital payments for card-on-file transactions, their acquisition of the payments app ‘Beem It’, and the piloting of their digital identity solution connectID using the eftpos payments network,” she said.
“NORA’s members are benefiting from the inroads eftpos is making, as a new force in e-commerce payments in this country.
“At a time when online businesses are looking to develop compelling innovations for their customers while importantly keeping costs low, leveraging these latest developments from the Australian owned eftpos network is what our members need.”
Chief executive of payments consultancy McLean Roche, Grant Halverson, told Banking Day he endorsed eftpos’ edging into online transactions, but questioned the Australian public’s willingness to adapt to the new digital payment system.
“Adding QR codes to current debit cards will require each consumer to access a digital wallet on a smart phone – the question is, how many consumers will do this and how quickly?” he said.
“Currently Australia has one of the highest use rates for contactless payments and very low use of phones as payment tools.
“The big opportunity is clearly for online transactions with the QR code adding a much-need security layer.”
eftpos’ move into the internet payments space means it will compete against global players like Visa and Mastercard, which currently dominate the market.
eftpos’ Australia-first digital product strategy
The QR code payments network is part of eftpos’ digital strategy to drive ecommerce competition and innovation in Australia over the next two years.
The strategy has five key areas: mobile wallets, ecommerce, digital identity, APIs and fintech access, and the national QR code payments rollout.
Earlier this week, eftpos unveiled its fintech advisory committee with the aim to give fintechs a say in how they can access and leverage the eftpos platform for the “betterment” of Australia’s digital economy.
“The eftpos digital product strategy has been devised with an Australian focus, creating world-class innovations to compete against global players,” Mr Benton said.
“The strategy we embarked on two years ago aimed to transition eftpos from a card present retail business to a major player in the centre of Australian eCommerce that leverages our world-class technology investments.
“In many ways, eftpos was Australia’s first fintech and our digital strategy builds on that history to deliver on eftpos’ purpose – to do good for Australia. We aim to do this by engaging with members, fintechs and retailers to make everyday payments easy, secure, smart and cost efficient.”
The national rollout for the QR code payments network will commence trial mid-year and is due to be completed in 2022.