MasterCard takes on Rugby World Cup scammers

NZ country manager assures international fans their money and details will be safe

International credit card provider MasterCard has claimed it has sufficient card security measures in place at stadiums around the country, allaying the potential concerns of Rugby Union fans travelling to New Zealand for the sport’s world cup in September.

Concerns about the MasterCard’s plans to install its PayPass contactless payment technology at Eden Park Stadium in Auckland and Westpac Stadium in Wellington were raised last week with Massey University senior lecturer in banking, Claire Matthews, warning New Zealanders would be unlikely to warm to the technology, as the country has one of the highest adoption rates of EFTPOS in the world.

The international sporting competition will mark the first time the stadiums have moved from cash-only payment to electronic payment systems. However, only MasterCard’s PayPass-enabled cards will be valid for cashless purchase at the stadiums.

In responding to the lecturer’s concerns, MasterCard NZ country manager, Albert Naffah, told Computerworld Australia that by installing the terminals at, it would be reduce the amount of cash needed by patrons.

"The use of PayPass will be an opportunity for us to showcase the technology because we don’t have the penetration of PayPass in the New Zealand market yet but we’re confident that we will be catching up pretty quickly,” he said.

For visitors who did not have a credit card, there would be MasterCard prepaid cards available which could be topped up at local banks to a limit of $1000 and used one time only.

Naffah also said ANZ would be installing new ATMs as an option for local and overseas visitors who preferred to withdraw cash.

All cards issued in Australia or New Zealand by MasterCard must meet the Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) standard. EMV is the global standard used by card providers for integrated circuit (IC) debit and credit cards used in point of sale terminals and ATMs.

"We also have an extra layer of protection over the top of that which is a MasterCard zero liability rule, which ensures that even if an authorised transaction is undertaken on a card that the cardholder is protected from that fraud," he said. "[Customers] will never be liable for it.”

MasterCard intends to boost security of all card-based transactions under a five-year plan to be initiated in July 2011. Under the plan, online merchants would be required to offer the company’s SecureCode authentication for all transactions over $200 by April 2013.

“This means the cardholder has to enter details in order to identify themselves,” Naffah said.

The card company also plans to increase the availability of PayPass to speed up transactions.

According to Naffah, the card company was keen to move payments into the smartphone space through near-field-communications technology, currently being trialled by competitor, VISA.

He also said Australia and New Zealand have some of the lowest levels of card payment fraud in the world. However, Naffah said the company was "not resting on its laurels" and was keen to explore new security measures.

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