Those who know me know I head to the US at least 2-3 times per year. I'm an ANZ customer and I use my ANZ Visa card for most purchases in the US.
One thing I'd observed over the past couple of years had been the inability to use Paywave at terminals that support contactless using my ANZ Visa card. It's really only been the past 12 months that contactless terminals have become popular in the US due to Google Pay and Apple Pay, so it's never really been a big deal.
While in the US in February I visited Chicago where all public transport ticketing is done by Cubic systems (who also do Opal in Sydney and Oyster in London among others) and you can use your contactless credit card or Apple / Google Pay as your ticket. I discovered that I couldn't use my ANZ Visa for this or Google Pay on my ANZ account. Curious about this, I did a lot more testing over the course of the week at various retailers with various cards I have.
I could use multiple Mastercard cards at every contactless terminal I tried (Kiwibank Card + my Air NZ OneSmart which is Travelex) with no issues. My ANZ card nor Google Pay would not work anywhere.
I'd already contacted ANZ about this last year and was told there where were no issues and no other complaints. On getting back to NZ I contacted them again and was told there were no issues and they'd never received any complaints from other people.
A quick Twitter discussion pretty quickly lead to the conclusion I certainly wasn't the only ANZ customer who had this issue. Others too had never been able to use an ANZ card in the US for contactless transactions.
I got a contact inside ANZ to raise this internally last month, and I'm aware of the initial responses from people who work in the cards area where along the lines of "it should just work" but it became clear as the issue was being discussed that no staff there, nor friends who were asked who had visited that nobody had every been able to use Paywave on an ANZ Visa in the US. Many had tried and found it didn't work, but it seems nobody was ever complaining (or if they were they weren't telling the right people!)
I got a call from ANZ today, and was told that yes issue does exist, and that they believe the issue is with US terminals not accepting ANZ Paywave Visa cards as they are not seeing any transactions hitting their network.
While my knowledge of how credit cards are processed is good, I'm by no means an expert. I actually don't believe this as the only way a card would probably be rejected is if the BIN range was blocked, and this should (if my understanding of the EMV standard is correct) block chip EMV transactions as well. Google Pay also works very differently again since it's fully tokenisation based, so shouldn't be affected by a blocked BIN range on a terminal.
Right now I'm pretty much of the view that either ANZ are totally useless when it comes to diagnosing their own network and have issues with the configuration of their switch (which processes all credit card transactions) or there are issues affecting contactless Visa transactions which if that was the case could potentially affect other NZ banks with Visa cards.
I'm keen to hear the experience other people have had in the US using NZ cards, particularly Visa cards, as this issue does not seem to affect Mastercard / PayPass transactions.
If you've visited the US and used a NZ credit card I'd be keen to know if contactless transactions worked for you using your card, Google Pay or Apple Pay, what bank you are with, and whether it was an actual credit card or a debit card.
Visa debit cards are processed differently by ANZ, and anecdotal reports I've heard is that they do work OK. To me this further fuels my belief that the issue lies solely with ANZ and a misconfigured switch, and not an issue at a terminal level or with Visa.