BURGER KING DITCHES PAYWAVE

Burger King has stopped accepting contactless payments, citing high service charges from banks and card companies. A Burger King spokesman said that the switch was due to “exorbitant bank charges,” but wouldn’t comment further.

“Merchant service fees in New Zealand are too high,” said Greg Harford, general manager of public affairs for Retail NZ. “There’s no obvious reason for charges here to be two or three times more than in Australia or the UK.”

Part of the problem was due to lack of regulation of maximum interchange fees, Hartford explained.

“Visa and Mastercard have both taken steps in recent months to reduce some interchange rates, but there hasn’t been enough time to assess how much the interchange reductions have impacted overall merchant service fees paid by retailers,” he said. “We expect that, even with the changes, rates in New Zealand will still be higher than in Australia and the UK.”

First Retail Group managing director Chris Wilkinson said that contactless payments were now an expected part of the retail landscape. “It’s expected now and it’s interesting that businesses that don’t have it almost apologetically advertise that they don’t with big signs that say ‘no contactless’,” he said.

He didn’t, however, think that Burger King would be adversely impacted by the change. “Customers will be frustrated but in terms of goodwill or relationship, I doubt that will have a massive impact.”