It processes more than 80 million card transactions a year, so Countdown says its upcoming foray into the credit card market is a logical entry point into the financial services sector.
Countdown has signed an alliance agreement with GE Capital to launch a Visa credit card to New Zealand consumers, with GE chosen as the card issuer after a national tender process.
"With more than 2.5 million customer transactions each week in our 161 stores across New Zealand, our customer reach and retail experience puts us in an ideal position to deliver an offer that will stand out in the market," Countdown managing director Dave Chambers said.
Visa spokesperson Sean Preston said the move was a great example of increasing competition in the New Zealand payments industry and further proof that innovation can come from non-traditional players.
GE Capital NZ managing director Aaron Baxter said it already partnered with a number of global retail brands.
“Countdown is a strong Kiwi brand with significant customer reach and an extensive distribution network. This partnership will allow us to continue to build on our scale and reach in the marketplace,” Baxter said.
Earlier this year Countdown launched an interactive mobile shopping app and at the time, general manager of marketing Bridget Lamont said supermarket retailing would continue to be transformed through the innovative use of technology, from electronic payments to QR codes.