Australian banks, retailers and payments specialists have signed on to a new co-ordination body that aims to step up the pace of innovation in the country's payments industry.
Plans for an Australian Payments Council were first set out last October by the country's central bank, which was frustrated by the slow pace of innovation in the industry.
The big four banks - ANZ, CommBank, NAB and Westpac - have now all signed on to the council, along with the Australian Payments Clearing Association Visa, PayPal, eftpos Payments, First Data, Cuscal and Woolworths.
The establishment of the body follows a hard-hitting 2012 review of payments systems innovation in Australia, which uncovered inherent challenges in achieving industry coordination on major strategic issues. In particular, the RBA believes the shake-up in governance will help it achieve its goal of introducing a real-time faster payments system in the country by 2016.
The group will push the development of "innovative, secure and competitive payment services" and, working the central bank, coordinate efforts to drive the strategic agenda for the Australian payments system.
Christine McLoughlin has been named independent chairman of the Council. She will lead a group of executives from the member organisations, with a first meeting slated for October.
Says McLoughlin: "The Council has been set up to identify the strategic issues that will need to be addressed collaboratively by the payments industry and the Reserve Bank. We will work through this period of technology and consumer-driven change to ensure we support the growing digital economy, at the same time preserving the integrity of the payments system."