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Payments pioneer lights fire under NZ market

Media Release 13 August 2018

Payments pioneer lights fire under NZ market

Payment tools in New Zealand have some catching up to do, according to one of the pioneers of the payments industry in this country.

“Innovative new payment tools in New Zealand are few and far between, compared to overseas markets,” says Dave Spicer, who with his business partners shook up the local market in 2007. Under the Ezi-Pay banner, they introduced New Zealanders to the gift station (or card mall) in supermarkets, offering all the big brand retailers’ gift cards in one place.

“Seventy percent of New Zealand businesses have not upgraded their payment systems in at least seven years. Most are still operating inefficient payment methods. There are so many great new payment tools businesses can implement to generate efficiencies, loyalty and growth opportunities,” says Spicer.

In recent years, many businesses have found a competitive edge by offering new methods of payment.

“Winning and keeping a customer requires constant attention – this includes how they can pay. Gone are the days where businesses can dictate how you can pay for things. Look at Amazon’s one-click purchases – payment has become an essential part of the experience, no longer just something you have to do after you’ve finished your transaction. Part of the reason Uber is popular is because of how you don’t pay,” says Spicer.

Another major industry driver that led to the global rise of new financial services is that a large proportion of the population either don’t qualify for the traditional financial tools presented today, or they are not that interested in interfacing with large and intimidating institutions. Those people still want payment cards, because so many transactions in the modern economy require it. This creates a demand for payment cards not issued by banks.

“I’ve found all these options overseas and saw a gap for innovators in the payment space locally,” says Spicer.

His latest enterprise, Card Works, developed a Bonfire Gift Mastercard that combines the best features of similar cards in other markets.

One of the Bonfire Gift Mastercard’s key advantages is that businesses can buy boxes of unloaded gift cards. “Because they are unloaded, there’s no money sitting in an unsafe location. Most offices are not set up to hold cash – an office cabinet or drawer isn’t the most secure location.”

With the new Bonfire Gift Mastercard, businesses can keep unloaded cards on hand and have a system that protects it, for instance who has the authority to load funds on the cards. Cards can be loaded and activated individually or in bulk. Businesses can load the cards just before they want to issue them, using a simple, secure online interface.

Bonfire cards are designed to make it easy for businesses to issue customer rewards or refunds, as well as for staff incentives and to manage expenses around a project or business trip. Bonfire Gift Mastercard cards can even replace petty cash, making it easy to handle small office expenses.

Bonfire cards can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted, at more than 43 million retailers and online shops globally. It is this usability that makes gift cards the most popular gifts in the world, especially those cards supported by schemes such as Mastercard, rather than branded store cards.

“Current store-type gift cards in New Zealand typically only bear the brand of the issuer,” Spicer points out. “So, what is meant to be reward from the business ends up being an endorsement for someone else’s brand. Why give another business the limelight at the moment of truth? With Bonfire, businesses can put their own brand on the card, so their identity is carried through to the point of enjoyment.”

Developing this payment option required a substantial build, all of which was done locally in New Zealand.

“People want innovative financial tools delivered by companies other than banks, but they still want the reassurance that you use bank level of infrastructure and security,” says Spicer.

So, to bring the Bonfire Gift Mastercard to life, Card Works teamed up with Mastercard and Co-op Money NZ, the industry association for credit unions and mutual building societies.

“The Bonfire Gift Mastercard card is our first product, but we have much more in store,” says Spicer. “The future for us would include digital products that place New Zealand at the forefront of payments internationally.”


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