Press Office

11 September 2006
Westpac Launches New Debit MasterCard® Card
MasterCard Signs up First Australian Major Bank in Debit Card Expansion.

MasterCard Worldwide has joined forces with Westpac to launch a new MasterCard Debit card in Australia – the Westpac Debit MasterCard Card.

The card is the first MasterCard debit offer with a major bank in Australia and represents a significant expansion into scheme debit for the brand.

The new Westpac Debit MasterCard Card will be available to all Australians over the age of 18, including Westpac's existing Cirrus®-branded Handycard cardholders.
Linked to a savings, cheque or other transaction account, the Westpac Debit MasterCard Card allows cardholders to draw on their own funds to make purchases at more than 30 million locations in 210 countries including over the phone or on the internet, both domestically and overseas, where traditionally they have had to use a credit card.
“Australians of all ages and with varying attitudes towards credit have called for a payment card with the same functionality of a credit card, but accessing their deposit account. Our research shows cardholders want a card that is convenient, widely accepted and versatile but some do not necessarily want the associated credit. For those cardholders, a MasterCard Debit card is the perfect solution,” said Leigh Clapham executive vice president, Australasia, MasterCard Worldwide.

Westpac’s General Manager, Product and Marketing, Tim Harrington, said: “The Westpac Debit MasterCard was developed as a result of customer feedback that there was a need for an access card that had the same functionality of a credit card with the choice to use money from their own transaction account.

“And because the Westpac Debit MasterCard is available on our existing transaction accounts , customers can choose the account that best suits their needs while taking advantage of the added flexibility of a Debit MasterCard,” Harrington said.

The launch of the new Debit MasterCard card is a part of the company’s ongoing strategy, working in collaboration with its member banks, to help consumers of all ages to manage their finances effectively.

“According to Reserve Bank of Australia data, debit card usage is the most popular card payment option for consumers in Australia, with debit usage at the point of sale exceeding 50 percent of card-based payments for the first time in Australia. And debit transactions in the market now exceed $223 billion per annum, as at the end of June 2006,” Clapham added.

Clapham continued, “MasterCard is delighted that for the first time, customers of Australia's first bank can get a Debit MasterCard card upon request. This agreement bolsters our already strong debit offerings under the Maestro and Cirrus brands, and will add to the millions of existing Maestro, Cirrus and Debit MasterCard cards already in circulation in Australia.”

MasterCard has also seen growth in internet and telephone transactions exceed 47 percent over the past 12 months, proving that consumers’ payment needs are expanding beyond the capability of EFTPOS. Consumers identified internet purchasing, monthly bill payment and petrol purchasing as the top three benefits of MasterCard Debit over EFTPOS, in research conducted by MasterCard in March this year.
In addition to these benefits, the Westpac Debit MasterCard card affords cardholders with significant protection against fraud through Westpac Falcon – which detects fraudulent activity on customer accounts – and MasterCard’s zero liability for unauthorized transactions , making MasterCard Debit even more appealing over EFTPOS.

MasterCard is supporting the launch of the MasterCard Debit card with a new version of its world-famous “Priceless” advertising campaign. The execution, created by advertising agency McCann Erickson in Sydney, will run on television, in print, outdoor and online.