Wellington Retailer Ditches Paywave

As part of the Covid-19 recovery, most banks waived the fees for Paywave, and the minimum monthly merchant service fee, for eligible small business customers for a limited time. But a Wellington retailer has removed Paywave payments to keep his business afloat after banks re-introduced the contactless payment transaction fees.

David Cathro, of independent craft supply shop Made Marion Craft, estimated the business paid $8000 a year in Paywave fees – about 2 percent of every transaction.

Cathro said customers were unaware it cost a business for every Paywave transaction, and he had asked customers to not use Paywave if possible. After Westpac reintroduced the fees on January 1, he removed the option completely, and manually processed the transactions.

A Westpac spokesman said the bank was working with business customers.

“We encourage anyone who is facing financial difficulties to contact us, so we can identify a solution for their specific needs,” he said.

But Cathro was calling for the Government to move faster on passing the Retail Payment System Bill, which would regulate credit and debit cards fees charged by banks.

A significant component of the merchant fee was the interchange fee – the fee paid between banks for the acceptance of the card transaction.

Commerce Minister David Clark said it would cap the interchange fee at 0.8 percent for credit card payments, in line with Australia, and the interchange fee for online debit card transactions at 0.6 per cent. Contactless debit card interchange fees would remain at 0.2 percent or less, and swiped and inserted debit card fees would remain free.