The following interview is with Ian Hendey, Group Executive Brand, Product and Distribution of ME Bank from October 2011. ME Bank was born with the support of industry super funds - a new kind of bank with a new deal for working Australians. Ian Hendey discusses about the products of ME Bank and also about the future products they have plan to bring in to the market.
Credit Card Finder: The use of debit cards in Australia has been steadily increasing with over $150 million worth of purchases made using a debit card in June this year. Why do you think debit cards have become so popular in Australia?
Ian Hendey: ME Bank's recent research showed consumers are looking for ways to speed up their everyday purchases while still considering security of their transaction. The fast-paced and high-pressure lifestyle of most Australians means that every minute matters and in this environment, security remains a primary concern.
"Our research found that many people said speed, ease, security and convenience determined their choice of payment method, which suggests debit cards, particularly with the range of Mastercard security features and 'tap and go' capabilities, will become even more popular."
"Despite the retail slump, consumers are still purchasing items every day. Now more than ever, with work and home life pressures, they want the ability to make safe purchases in the blink of an eye," said Ian Hendey, Group Executive, Brand, Product and Distribution at ME Bank.
The overall rise in internet shopping combined with growing reluctance towards credit cards is another reason for the surging popularity of debit cards.
Credit Card Finder: The ME Bank PINK Debit Mastercard is the first debit card of its kind in Australia to provide Australians with the opportunity to donate money to the National Breast Cancer Foundation every time they make a purchase. Why did ME Bank choose to partner with the National Breast Cancer Foundation?
Ian Hendey: We felt this was a significant issue in Australia with one in nine women being diagnosed with breast cancer by the age of 85. Women aren't the only ones who suffer; this disease also touches their families and friends. It's therefore in the community's interest to invest in research to help find a cure.
ME Bank is very proud to join the community in the fight against breast cancer. Since 2005 ME Bank has been the major sponsor of Women in Super Mothers Day Classic Run/Walk, a major fund raiser for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. From there, it was a logical step to go into partnership with the National Breast Cancer Foundation with our ME Bank EveryDay Transaction Account PINK Debit Mastercard.
Credit Card Finder: How does the donation work? Do customers to see how much they have donated on their statements?
Ian Hendey: Each time a customer makes a purchase using the ME Bank PINK Debit Mastercard, ME Bank will donate one cent to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. We then make an annual donation to the National Breast Cancer Foundation on behalf of our PINK Debit Mastercard users. We publish the amount of the donation online and thank our customers for doing more breast cancer research everyday.
Credit Card Finder: Besides the ability to make regular donations by using the ME Bank PINK Debit Mastercard for purchases, what are some of the other features of the card?
Ian Hendey: The ME Bank Everyday Transaction Account with Debit Mastercard hosts a range of features including the latest pay technology. You can shop in-store, online, over the phone and overseas – all while using your own money. Plus, every time you press 'Credit' your transactions will be protected by Mastercard's security features. Have your salary paid in and use the account to make all your purchases and pay all your bills. That's why we say 'you can spend more time doing the things you love and less time doing your everyday banking'
Our key features include
- Tap & Go with Mastercard PayPass for purchases under $100
- 15 Free ATM transactions per month at more than 3,000 locations in Australia*
- Free EFTPOS transactions
- Unlimited BPAY and PayAnyone
- Unlimited direct debits and direct credits
- A range of Mastercard security features protecting your transactions
- Access to Mastercard applause
- We'll waive the $5 monthly account keeping fee when you deposit just $500 per calendar month if you're a member of an industry super fund or union.
*Subsequent transactions will incur a $1.50 fee. Withdraw cash with your Debit Mastercard at any ME Bank, Westpac, St.George,Bank of Melbourne and Bank SA ATM (except ATMs at BP Stations). This is general information only and you should consider if this product is appropriate for you. Terms, Conditions, fees and charges apply.
Credit Card Finder: Is it easy for customers to switch to the ME Bank Everyday Transaction Account with Pink Debit Mastercard? What are the steps in doing so?
Ian Hendey: It's very easy, just go to www.mebank.com.au/pink to apply online for the ME Bank Everyday Transaction Account with Pink Debit Mastercard. After you've opened your Account, it's easy to switch your regular payments and direct debits. In fact we have developed an easy switch system including tools to fast track the process (go to ME Bank Easy Switch).
- Step 1 - Switch your salary payments. Contact your employer to change where your pay is deposited using our salary payment letter.
- Step 2 - Identify your regular payments. Check your statements or ask your old bank for a 13-month list of regular payments to/from your accounts. Banks are obliged to provide this to you.
- Step 3 - Switch your direct debits. ME Bank will help you switch your regular payments and direct debits to your EveryDay Transaction Account. We'll provide you with pre-written letters you can print out and send.Simply use your new ME Bank Everyday Transaction Account number to set up direct debits to pay your power, telco, insurance, gym, memberships, subscriptions and more.
- Step 4 - Close your old accounts. Once you've switched your payments and direct debits, remember to close your old accounts to avoid any unnecessary fees.
Credit Card Finder: What are some of the benefits for customers who are members of an eligible Industry super funds and Unions?
Ian Hendey: We'll waive the $5 monthly account-keeping fee for eligible industry super fund and union members when they deposit just $500 per month.
Credit Card Finder: Do you have any plans to introduce any other products that offer a similar donation to the National Breast Cancer Foundation?
Ian Hendey: Absolutely, we are currently investigating other charities that are important to our customers and staff.
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