Banks bristle over web go-between

JASON KRUPP
Last updated 05:00 20/12/2012

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Two Kiwi banks are staring off against online payment intermediary POLi, after ASB accused the firm of mirroring its website and urged customers not to use the service.

But the web firm, which has partnered with the likes of Air New Zealand, Jetstar and Virgin Australia, said it was merely an invisible gateway that helped online shoppers and retailers transact more safely and efficiently.

Without providing any credit card information, registered users can make purchases at partner websites. Software accesses the user's bank account online, verifies that funds are available, makes the payment, and confirms with the retailer that the transaction has been completed.

"The POLi software has been reviewed/audited by Secure Assessments, and some large POLi merchants have also conducted technical due diligence before offering the service to their customers," said Jeffery McAlister, chief executive of the Australian firm.

"We are always open to banks reviewing our software and its security strength."

However, the argument has failed to gain traction with the major banks, which remain sceptical about opening their back office and user accounts to a third party.

BNZ yesterday joined ASB in urging customers to avoid using POLi, saying that "providing log-in details to a third party presents very serious security risks and contradicts both the New Zealand Code of Banking Practice and our terms and conditions".

POLi's terms and conditions, published on its website, say: "We will not be liable to you or any other party for any loss or damage, however caused (including through negligence), that you may directly or indirectly suffer in connection with your use of POLi."

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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