Global leader: Simon Tong, CEO
Core activity: Electronic payment and transaction services
Revenue: NZ$40 million (FY ended March 08)
Key customers: ANZ National, ASB, BNZ, Kiwibank, TSB, Westpac; 65,000 merchant customers including large retailers
Fully owned by four banks — ANZ, ASB, BNZ and Westpac Bank — Paymark (formerly known as ETSL) is responsible for the development, application and operation of New Zealand’s largest electronic transaction network; carrying 60 per cent of all retail transactions between March 2007 and March 2008 for a total of $39 billion.
In the past year, the governance structure of Paymark has been extended to include an independent chairman and directors, placing the company “on a more commercial footing”, says CEO Simon Tong.
He says primary directives are to provide low-cost electronic transaction processing within New Zealand, which already has one of the lowest, per-cost per-transaction rates in the world.
“Our goal is to retain the core services New Zealanders are used to and have enjoyed, whilst providing for initiatives like internet shopping and mobile commerce,” says Tong.
Paymark is also investigating opportunities to export its expertise and technology to developing countries like India, which has a fragmented electronic processing environment. Extra profit from export earning can be reinvested locally and New Zealand companies operating overseas can benefit, says Tong.
“The banks have invested an awful lot of money — close on $20 million — in network infrastructure over the past five years. We are a hub; we have a lot of connections locally and internationally, and one of the things we can do is help out New Zealand businesses and stay true to our roots,” says Tong.
Paymark is continuing the transition from its legacy network to a new network, a project Tong says is not moving quickly.
“Although there are only small volumes of issues, because transaction volume across the network is high, a problem affecting even 5 per cent of transactions means too many are not working.” (The Paymark network carried 800 million transactions between March 2007 and March 2008).
Tong says Paymark will delay moving forward until it is “100 per cent happy” with the network transition.