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Kiwi start-up leads global payments revolution


Te Whanganui-a-Tara – Kiwi business Centrapay is driving a global revolution to overhaul how New Zealanders pay for goods and services.

This spells the beginning of the end of plastic payment cards which are prone to fraud and cost businesses and customers a fortune in fees.

Centrapay is an independent payment network which wants to totally revamp New Zealand’s reliance on decades-old plastic card payment technology which is acting as a hand brake on digital fintech.

Centrapay has developed next generation digital payment infrastructure, enabling a complete rethink of the way we make and receive payments, from plastic cards to a range of new and secure digital payments, made with the use of a smart phone. 

Centrapay chief executive Greg Beehre says the vast majority of electronic retail payments and payments made in other sectors, are processed with cards that started back in the 1950s, and using software designed in the 1980s. Little has changed since, beyond some digital lipstick. 

Beehre says MBIE data shows payment fees are now one of the three highest costs for New Zealand businesses, an expense which is increasingly passed on to consumers.

“Inflation is running red-hot at more than seven percent. The cost of living is soaring and because of increasing payment fees on top, many businesses are adding an extra one to three percent surcharge at the checkout if a customer wants to use credit or contactless payment. There’s a multiplier effect and Kiwis are footing the bill.”

The reliance on payments technology from last century has hamstrung technological advances. Enhancements to legacy card systems take years to deliver into the market, and new electronic payment products are lacking scale in New Zealand, he says.

“The pressure on banks to foster real change is growing, with regulators raising concerns about costs to customers, lack of competition, and security and privacy of customter data. 

The security risk with cards is on the rise as increasingly sophisticated fraudsters target card systems, he says that more than $50 billion is lost globally to card fraud each year, a figure that increases annually. 

Card fraud, and the expense of protecting against it, is just another cost passed on to businesses and customers through fees.

Beehre says because New Zealand has been slow in fostering new innovation, it has offshore giants such as Apple, Google and Amazon stepping into the local payments space, while our once globally leading EFTPOS debit payment system remains neglected with no agreed path forward. 

“We aim to free banks, businesses and consumers from the technology and commercial constraints that come with card concepts from the mid-20th century.

“We are working in partnership with EFTPOS and retail technology providers and major brands such as Farmlands and Gift Station to transform their payment experience for their customers and card partners from plastic to digital solutions.” 

For further information contact Greg Beehre on 021 835847 or Make Lemonade NZ editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 2075 030188.