Give consumers power in the way they pay


RBA payment system review an opportunity to get it right

CHOICE says a review by the Reserve Bank of Australia into changes to the way people are paying for goods and services is an opportunity to put the consumer first.

Among seven recommendations CHOICE has made to the RBA’s Strategic Review of Innovation in the Payments System, the people’s watchdog is calling for wide consultation with consumers on the future of cheques, the opportunity to opt out of new payment technologies and better access by consumers to data that is gathered about their spending habits.

“The days when you could only pay for goods and services by cash or cheque are long gone. We support innovation in payment systems but it’s important that the rights of the consumer come first,” says CHOICE’s Head of Campaigns, Matt Levey.

CHOICE is concerned that new payment systems are being introduced with little or no advance information to consumers and often come without an ‘opt-out’ facility. An example is the contactless technology for credit card purchases under $100.00.

“Innovations like contactless credit cards may provide benefits but some consumers have expressed uncertainty about how secure the technology is. It highlights the case for consumers being given better information about payment technologies along with opportunities to opt-out should they wish,” says Mr Levey.

Current innovations in payment systems rely on technology that captures details of people’s purchasing habits. Knowingly or unknowingly, many people agree to have their shopping behavior and demographic details collected through customer loyalty schemes.

“Privacy and security are ongoing concerns, but there are also opportunities to empower consumers with more meaningful access to the information that is gathered about them. This needs to move from a ‘need to know’ to a ‘right to know’ when it comes to information that has been gathered and how it’s used,” says Mr Levey.

CHOICE says consumers need to be able to move through changes in the payments landscape with confidence.

“People will continue to need a range of payment options and those systems need to be fair, affordable, secure, timely and transparent,” says Mr Levey.

Read CHOICE’s submission to the RBA’s Payments System Board at http://www.rba.gov.au/payments-system/reforms/strategic-review-innovation/submissions/201106-strategic-review-innovation/choice.pdf

Media contact:
• Matt Levey, CHOICE, Head of Campaigns: 0488 214 066
• Ingrid Just, CHOICE, Head of Media and Spokesperson: 0430 172 669


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