Recent European legislation, effective from 9 June 2016, gives consumers the right to pay with the brand (or payment scheme) they choose. This regulation applies only to payments made with cards bearing two payment brands such as Bancontact and Maestro or V PAY and Bancontact.
- What is brand selection all about?
- What are dual-branded cards?
- Which solutions are proposed in the Belgian market?
- What does the temporary solution, applicable until mid-2018, involve? What is the impact for the concerned merchants?
- Which merchants are in scope of the temporary solution?
- How are merchants informed about brand selection?
- How are cardholders informed about brand selection?
- How does a merchant in scope know how to offer brand selection to the cardholders?
- How can a merchant obtain extra stickers & how-to guides?
- How can a merchant contact Worldline for further information?
Recent European legislation (EU regulation 2015/751), effective from 9 June 2016, gives consumers the right to pay with the brand (or payment scheme) they choose. This choice of payment brand applies when several brands are mutually supported on the cardholder's payment card (i.e. dual-branded payment cards) and on the merchant's terminal. Merchants may pre-select a payment brand but the cardholder should be able to overrule the merchant's preference. Payment schemes, issuers, acquirers, processors and terminal vendors may not impose a choice of brand.
Dual-branded cards are cards with 2 brands on one and the same payment card. Current dual-branded cards in Belgium are Bancontact - Maestro and, in the near future, Bancontact - VPAY.
A Working Group was set up by the Ministry of Economy's Cabinet (FPS Economy, S.M.E's, Self-employed and Energy), involving a large number of stakeholders such as the Ministry of Economy, retailer federations, consumer organizations, acquirers, terminal vendors etc. to define the best solution for the Belgian market.
In the Belgian market, there is currently no possibility to enable brand selection on all terminals in the field, since this would require an adaptation of the terminal software, and an adaptation of the ECR (Electronic Cash Register).
The Working Group decided to implement a temporary solution, which will allow the merchants concerned (see below for detail), to offer brand selection to cardholders, and this in specific cases.
The field implementation of the long term solution is expected for mid-2018.
What does the temporary solution, applicable until mid-2018, involve? What is the impact for the concerned merchants?
When a concerned merchant (see below for detail), gets a request from a cardholder to pay using a particular brand, this merchant must be able to offer that facility. Consequently, the merchants in scope should be able to operate their terminal to enable cardholders to pay using their preferred payment brand.
To merchants answering to all 3 below criteria, the temporary solution must be applied:
- Merchants operating attended terminals (excluding car-parks, petrol stations, etc)
Attended terminals are those with payment points that are operated by a physical person.
- Merchants accepting Bancontact - Maestro and/or Bancontact - VPAY
A merchant who accepts Bancontact ONLY will not be able to offer payments with another payment brand, and cannot offer brand selection to its customers. Bancontact only merchants are not obliged by the regulation to offer Maestro and/or VPAY payment services to their customers; this remains their own commercial choice.
Read more on Maestro/VPAY
- Merchants who do not have an integrated ECR (Electronic Cash Register), i.e. standalone terminals.
Merchants without ECR integration must respect the cardholder's choice, when a cardholder asks to select his/her preferred brand, and need to know how to do so.
In case a merchant's terminal is integrated with an ECR, and the merchant is able to adjust his/her ECR, the merchant can offer cardholders the facility to pay using their preferred payment brand. In case a merchant with an integrated ECR system is not able to adjust his/her ECR (because, for instance, this requires additional investments), the merchant does not have to offer the brand selection facility to cardholders.
- Merchant with an attended terminal; AND
- Without ECR integration; AND
- Accepting both Bancontact and Maestro and/or Bancontact and VPAY on their terminal(s).
These merchants should:
- Respect the cardholder's brand preference when the cardholder asks for it;
- Be able to operate their terminal so as to allow the brand selection.
The cardholder has to make his choice clear to the merchant before the start of the transaction.
Merchants are currently being contacted by Worldline to inform them about the European regulation, and the impact on their business.
Apart from Worldline, other industry stakeholders and federations will inform merchants about the European regulation and its implications.
A sticker is available to affix at a prominent location, explaining to the cardholder that he/she can select the payment brand. These stickers will be sent, as part of Worldline's communication campaign, to the merchants in scope of the temporary solution.
Apart from Worldline, other industry stakeholders and federations will inform cardholders about the European regulation and its implications.
For merchants in scope of the temporary solution, a how-to guide is produced, which explains how they should operate the terminal to select a brand other than Bancontact.
The merchant can call the Worldline customer service at 02 727 88 99, keeping the Terminal ID (TID) number to hand.