Australian Debit Cards - Visa Debit & Eftpos
Debit cards have long been part of any Australian's wallet but the local Eftpos system has failed to keep up with modern payment methods such as being able to use a card online, over the phone or while travelling overseas. The entrance of the Visa Debit card which offers more advanced features and acceptance is starting to shake the debit card market up. Find out more.
Debit cards are nothing new in Australia. The local Eftpos system has been widely used and accepted for nearly thirty years. Efptos allows ATM withdrawals but also payments for good and services at thousands of retailers Australia wide. If a retail store in Australia accepts cards then it's a fair bet Efptos will be accepted.
Unfortunately, acceptability is limited only to Australia. This is the reason EFTPOS is having a difficult time competing with the flood of bank debit cards, particularly the market-leading Visa debit cards.
Debit cards can do virtually everything that EFTPOS can do for you but on a much wider scale. Where EFTPOS is accepted only in Australia, Visa debit is acceptable in the more than 24 million merchants and other outlets that also accept credit cards across the globe. If you wish to withdraw cash, you can use Visa debit at about one million ATM machines located in over 150 countries.
There simply are more over the counter outlets that accept Visa debit than EFTPOS. And, in these times of online purchases and the Internet, the single most distinctive advantage of debit cards is that they can be used for online and over the phone payments while EFTPOS is totally useless for these card-not-present transactions (as they are called in the industry).
Visa debit and other debit cards do not give you credit; they are simply linked to your bank account thus giving you access to your funds all hours of the day, all days of the year. In this regard the system is similar to EFTPOS in that you purchase items using your own money in your bank account.
But more and more banks are promoting the use of debit cards. They say this is in response to consumer demand, which is primarily related to the use of debit cards to process online transactions. Use of debit cards has become so widespread that in terms of numbers alone there are more than 3 debit cards for each Australian qualified (that is, at least age 18) to obtain and use them.
On the other hand, while the Australian Consumers Association has acknowledged the huge inroads made by debit cards they also believe EFTPOS should not be phased out. While it's less accepted overseas or online there are some advantages to EFTPOS.
There are differences in the charging of the interbank transaction fee (called the 'interchange' fee).
When you use your EFTPOS, your bank (or authorised deposit-taking institution or simply ADI) pay this interchange fee to the bank of the merchant. It's the merchant's bank that earns money on your transaction.
But when you use your Visa debit card or other debit cards, things turn out differently. Your bank is able to charge the merchant
s bank a transaction fee and therefore make money from your transactions.
Reports suggest that the EFTPOS system charges merchants a lower transaction fee than the Visa debit system. It may not seem like a big difference but if your making many transactions each month it can really add up.
On the other hand, Visa debit cards offer another advantage not found in EFTPOS. You enjoy purchase protection, card replacement in case of loss, and other security features normally associated with credit cards.
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Article by Richard Greenwood of credit card offers website click4credit.com.au The site compares Visa Debit cards from leading Australian banks and allows consumer to apply online.