The Reserve Bank of Australia, the country's central bank, says it might raise the cap for interchange fees for transactions for the domestic EFTPOS scheme. The cap could increase to 12 Australia (10 U.S. cents or 7 euro cents) cents per transactions from 4 cents or 5 cents. The EFTPOS network includes some 650,000 payment terminals deployed in Australia and New Zealand. The central bank wants submissions on the proposal by 23 Oct. The bank says increasing the fees would better align EFTPOS with debit cards carrying such international brands as MasterCard and Visa, a move that could increase competition in payments. "Imposing the cap of 12 cents on the EFTPOS interchange fees would provide more freedom for the EFTPOS scheme to set interchange fees than is currently the case," the bank says in a statement. About a month ago, the central bank said that it was not satisfied that conditions had been met for the removal of interchange regulation, and that not enough measures had been taken by the industry to increase competition for fees (CardLine Global, 27 Aug.). "This is about equalization for the way issuers treat the respective schemes [EFTPOS and scheme debit], and nothing directly to do with how the competing schemes are used by consumers," Matthew Sinclair, executive director with Australia-based Carpadium Consulting, tells CardLine Global.

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