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Oz banks gear up for real-time payments system

05 July 2013  |  7967 views  |  2 Australian Flag

Australia's banks have brought in KPMG to manage a programme to build an industry-wide real-time payments platform by 2016.

Last June, following a two year review, the Reserve Bank of Australia called for real-time retail payments by 2016, adding that it believes that this "would best be delivered by the establishment of a real-time payments hub, rather than a web of bilateral links".

With the Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA), the banks - including ANZ, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Citi, CBA, Cuscal, NAB, and Westpac - submitted their plans to make this happen in February.

Last month representatives from these banks met at their first steering committee meeting for the New Payments Platform (NPP), agreeing to participate in, and fund, the initial design and plan phase of the programme.

With KPMG winning a competitive tender to become programme manager, the plan now is to put out a request for tender next year for, and selection of, the key elements of the operating system.

VocaLink, First Data and Accenture have already made their interest known, signing an "exclusive teaming agreement" in November and making a public pitch to build a system based on the Vocalink-built UK Faster Payments service.

Chris Hamilton, CEO, APCA, says: "From a standing start last June, key industry players have debated and agreed a world-leading business architecture, enlisted the support of the Reserve Bank for the approach, secured initial funding and hired globally recognised expertise to make it happen...We are all now looking forward to working together to improve the Australian payments system."

Comments: (2)

John Candido
John Candido - Black Cabs - Melbourne | 09 July, 2013, 10:51

24 hour banking, 7 days a week, instantaneous transactions in real-time, regardless of weekends and public holidays. The only time that you will not be able to execute a transaction is when there is downtime due to technical issues and regular maintenance. Instantaneous real-time transactions, either through a mobile phone, iPad, laptop or desktop computer, is essential for efficient transactions from mobile and computer based payments, which are between banks, banks and individuals, banks and businesses, businesses and individuals, between businesses and between individuals. The cashless society is coming, and no amount of scaremongering is going to stop it. 

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Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 09 July, 2013, 12:06

Kudos to Australia's banks for initiating an FPS-like payment system. 

Despite the proliferation of electronic payment systems like FPS, SEPA, TARGET2, NEFT, Expedited Payments in the last five years, the total amount of currency in circulation has only gone up. Partly because people might have returned to cash and partly because a lot of new people are "coming into money" and the usual sequence for a lot of people is money > spending > banking > cashless methods of payments.

Some 50 years ago, a Lufthansa aircraft flying from Frankfurt to New York and carrying millions of dollars back to New York from abroad unloaded all that currency at a Lufthansa-owned warehouse in JFK, from where most of it - estimated at US$ 6M - was looted in what was then the largest cash robbery in the American history. I was tickled no end to read that a very similar heist took place just a couple of weeks ago, only that the airline involved in the recent incident was SWISS, flying from Zurich to New York. So much for cashless society, which I'm sure is not going to happen even after 190 years.

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