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Kiwis Get a Long-Awaited New Way to Pay

21 November 2006

Kiwis Get a Long-Awaited New Way to Pay

New Zealand’s payment industry has an exciting newcomer, with the launch of the Westpac Debitplus Visa card.

This new card is the only one of its kind in New Zealand, providing Kiwis with the world’s most popular payment card and a ‘new way to pay’.

The Westpac Debitplus Visa card can be used to pay for goods and services with the customer’s own money. However, unlike an EFTPOS card, it can be used at more than 24 million locations around the world, including one million ATMs , over the Internet, by telephone and via mail order - everywhere Visa is accepted.

The Westpac Debitplus Visa card can also be used like an EFTPOS card at a New Zealand “point of sale” terminal to access money from the cardholder’s cheque or savings account. Domestically, the card carries exactly the same transactional fees for customers as EFTPOS. For Westpac customers using an Elect account, this fee can be zero.

Westpac says the global acceptance of the card and its unrivalled functionality makes the new Westpac Debitplus Visa card a superior payment choice.

“We know there are many New Zealanders who would like to use their own money rather than a line of credit to shop overseas and to have access to cheaper airfares or other products available online or in catalogues. With the Westpac Debitplus Visa card they now can,” says Westpac Head of Product Management, Brian Hayr.

“Using the Westpac Debitplus Visa card overseas enables you to access money in your own bank account, removing the need for carrying large amounts of cash - a great safety feature. Best of all you don’t have to worry about incurring interest on your purchases, or running over your budget,” he says.

Visa International’s Country Manager for New Zealand, Iain Jamieson, says Visa Debit cards are a well-established and extremely popular form of payment overseas, now accounting for more than half of Visa’s total global transactions, exceeding credit card volumes.

“New Zealand is long overdue for a more sophisticated debit payment system, one that’s of a world-class standard. The Westpac Debitplus Visa provides the innovation boost the industry needs,” he says.

“The growth of Visa Debit cards around the world is nothing short of phenomenal. They are the most used payment cards globally. Consumers are demanding them here and as the world’s largest payments company it’s our pleasure to work with Westpac to give Kiwis greater choice in the way they can pay.”

The growth of online shopping is a key driver behind the success of Visa Debit. Visa International research into e-commerce shows we now have around 862,000 online shoppers in New Zealand. Of that number more than 90 per cent have repeatedly purchased online.

Online commerce carried out on a Visa card in the past 12 months has grown by nearly 90 per cent and is increasing at a rate nine times the speed of face-to-face transactions.

Westpac is the first bank in New Zealand to roll out the Visa Debit product and based on Visa’s global trends Westpac expects the product will have significant uptake in this market.

Some of the features of the new card include:
- Accepted at 24 million locations around the world plus over the Internet, by telephone and via mail order - everywhere Visa is accepted
- Uses funds held in customer’s own Westpac transactional account (cheque) rather than a line of credit
- When using the card in Eftpos handsets customer selects ‘cheque or savings’
- When using card overseas or when using credit card-only handsets customer selects ‘credit’
- When using on the internet or telephone or mail order the customer provides the card number and selects Visa
- A $10 annual fee applies per card
- Transaction account fees for domestic use through Eftpos terminals – as per the customers’ transaction account plan. This can be zero
- Transaction fee for online usage – as per the customers’ transaction account plan. This can be zero
- Visa transaction fees overseas are the same as Visa credit cards.

To find out more about the Westpac Debitplus Visa card go to www.westpac.co.nz or enquire at your local Westpac branch.

ENDS

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