Though direct tax payment using cards at ATMs or via Web sites is gaining traction around the world, marketing and logistical and bureaucratic hurdles could delay scheme rollouts, reports CardLine Global sister publication Cards&Payments. In India, for example, the country's "tax-filing procedures are still quite cumbersome and hence the ATM channel is not the best-suited one to proffer tax advice to payers," says Ravi Nawal, an India-based Celent analyst. Marketing also presents a problem. India's Department of Revenue allows citizens to pay excise, service and income taxes via the "payment gateways" of some 30 financial institutions, assuming the taxpayer holds an account with one of them, Nawal says. "The service has still not found many takers amongst individual taxpayers, as awareness and penetration is relatively low," he says, noting he knows of no banks imposing additional fees for offering such services. Should more financial institutions offer tax payments through ATMs and cards, the service likely will "find traction with taxpayers in the urban centers of the country because of higher ATM and Internet penetration and also owing to greater awareness," Nawal predicts. Meanwhile, electronic tax-collection efforts around the world could be slowed by the advanced age of the ATM base in certain markets, says Sharon Dickie, vice president of marketing, NCR Financial Services. "However, we are beginning to see ATM-replacement programs gathering pace as banks assess the operational cost savings and revenue-gathering potential of new technologies," she adds.

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