What Happened to Bankcard Credit Cards?

Information verified correct on October 24th, 2016

Bankcard were Australia’s first and leading credit card payment merchant for the ten years from it’s introduction into the market in 1974. What led to their downfall in the credit card market?

It’s consumer base peaked at 5 million in 1984, and in the same year began to deteriorate as Visa and MasterCard picked up market share.

What contributed to the downfall of Bankcard credit cards?

According to the Bankcard Association of Australia, an ‘ever-declining cardholder base, falling transaction volumes and shrinking market share‘ were the main catalysts for Bankcard’s withdrawal of the credit card market.

Representative Garry Moffat stated that Bankcard failed to maintain market share in Australia because:

  • Bankcard pioneered cashless transactions in the seventies and early eighties, yet failed to recreate themselves in face of growing competition.
  • It was only available for domestic use. With the introduction of Visa, MasterCard and American Express, consumers lost interest in a card without international access.
  • They could not compete with the cardholder benefits and features which competing credit card processors were offering.

When did they withdraw from the Australian financial market?

Bankcard announced the retirement of their credit card scheme in February 2006. Retailers agreed to accept bankcard until the end of 2006 for a gradual transition for prior Bankcard holders.

Former cardholders who enjoyed their card features and benefits were offered a Visa credit card with almost identical features.

Who should I choose now as a credit card payment processor?

MasterCard and Visa currently dominate the market in Australia, followed by American Express, and a declining Diner’s Club.

MasterCard and Visa both have practically identical worldwide access and acceptance, with a few subtle changes in international fees. Occasionally, MasterCard or Visa might run a promotion or contest for cardholders, but other than that for usage in Australia they both provide the same service.

American Express offers generous Membership Rewards for their cardholders but still have limited acceptance in Australia, particularly from smaller retailers and businesses.

See the lowest interest rate credit cards on offer from Visa and MasterCard Australia has to offer.

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Rates last updated October 24th, 2016
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