Merchants challenge Reserve over Eftpos ruling

The retailers behind the Australian Merchant Payments Forum will square off against the Reserve Bank in the Federal Court during the second half of May 2005, in a fight over Eftpos regulation in the Australian Competition Tribunal. The legal wrangle relates to the challenge by the merchants to the “designation” by the RBA of the Eftpos payments system under the Payments System Regulation Act. Designation is a preliminary legal step the RBA must take in order to impose regulations on the Eftpos network; a network comprised of bilateral links between about 10 banks. The RBA thinks the wholesale fees paid by banks to each other for processing interchange payments are too high, but retailers do not want to lose subsidies they receive from banks for accepting Eftpos.