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Lion’s Share of Fans Spend Up Big With Chip Cards


Electronic Transaction Statistics Report

Media Release

15 July 2005

Lion’s Share of Fans Spend Up Big With Chip Cards

Latest electronic transaction statistics highlights economic impact of Lions tour

Lions fans racked up over $34 million on their credit cards in New Zealand during June and the first two weeks of July, according to the latest statistics from Paymark EFTPOS (Paymark).

Figures show that over the Lions tour period there were over 250,000 transactions from United Kingdom (UK) credit cards on the Paymark network, which handles around 80% of all electronic transactions in New Zealand. UK tourists carried some 40,000 transactions worth around $800,000 on average each day.

Current data available for the Paymark network for June 2005 shows that New Zealand credit card spending totaled $1.1 billion. Spending with UK credit cards made up $20 million of this figure.

The rugby test series also marked the first major influx of tourists using credit cards utilising chip technology. Almost 90% of the UK credit card transactions were carried out using credit cards that have a chip to store information, rather than the traditional magnetic stripe. The majority of those transactions are likely to have been from UK tourists in New Zealand for the Lions tour.

Ron Brown, General Manager Paymark, explains that the figures not only highlight the extent of spending by Lions fans, but also the growing use of chip cards in New Zealand.

“There was a tremendous build up to the tour, followed by a feeling that perhaps it wouldn’t meet expectations. But from the Paymark figures we can see that Lions fans spent up large. The average transaction value for people using UK credit cards during the Lions tour was $137.25, whilst the average for kiwis over the same period was around $88.

“Of interest for merchants and banks was tourists’ use of chip cards. This type of technology, which is the next generation on from the magnetic stripe cards we are accustomed to in New Zealand, is being rolled out overseas and we expect it to seen in New Zealand soon.”

New Zealand merchants are about to enter a period when they will need to upgrade their existing EFTPOS terminals to become compliant with new global guidelines from Europay, Visa, MasterCard (EMV). The new terminals will be able to process chip cards and existing magnetic stripe cards.

Chip cards require a different transaction process to existing magnetic stripe cards, which will become more common for merchants as more tourists present the cards, and New Zealand banks roll out the new technology.

Chip cards are regarded as more secure than magnetic stripe cards as it is more difficult to access the information in a chip. In the UK, where card fraud costs more than £1 million per day, over 100 million cards are currently being reissued with chips.


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