Woolworths snubs Visa and MasterCard for debit card transactions

Woolworths Limited has announced that it will no longer use the MasterCard and Visa networks to process debit card payments. All future transactions will now go through the Australian EFTPOS network across its entire network of stores including Big W and Dick Smith.

This change will affect scheme debit cards, which are issued by banks and credit unions. These cards feature either the Visa or MasterCard logo on the front as well as the word debit to differentiate them from credit cards.

Traditionally customers using these cards would have the option of pressing the ‘credit’ button when making payments in-store. These Woolworths customers will now need to press ‘cheque’ or ‘savings’ buttons to access their funds through the Australian EFTPOS network.

Tom Pockett, Woolworths Limited finance director, said that the reason behind this decision was to cut down on unnecessary bank fees.

“The bank fees from processing debit transactions via MasterCard and Visa adds significant costs to the Woolworths business. By processing transactions through the Australian EFTPOS network, we can keep our costs low enabling us to deliver increased value to our customers,” he said.

“Regardless of which button customers press they still access the same bank account. The charges associated with the scheme debit networks are simply an unnecessary layer of cost for retailers that eventually trickle down to the consumer.”

Pockett said that customers must ensure that they are aware of their PIN number before using this new system.

“Customers will need to ensure they know their PIN to access their funds via the ‘cheque’ or ‘savings’ buttons,” he said.

“The PIN customers use in-store is the same number which customers use to withdraw funds at an ATM.”

Credit card accounts will not be affected by this change and customers will still be able to select the ‘credit’ option when paying by credit card.

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