Financial messaging network Swift has won the contract to build a 'New Payments Platform' for the Australian banking community, ushering in immediate retail payments and the ability to conduct transactions in the absence of a bank account or BSB number.
Twelve leading financial institutions have committed funding to the project and signed a 12-year contract with Swift to build and operate the NPP basic infrastructure.
The Belgian-based banking co-operative won the business in a highly competitive tender, seeing off a strong coalition bid from the UK's VocaLink in concert with Accenture and First Data. Indeed, VocaLink was so confident of success that it went public with its pitch back in September 2012.
Under the terms, Swift will supply a domestic messaging network and payments switch to orchestrate clearing and settlement flows. The third component - a proxy addressing lookup service allowing payment routing based on personal identifiers such as a mobile phone number or email address - will be subcontracted out to Fiserv.
The appointment of Swift marks the launch of the programme’s third phase - 'design and elaborate'. During this period NPP Australia members will work with Swift to detail the central solution as well as the system developments needed for each member. The phase is due for completion in third quarter 2015. The first deliverable in the multi-year project - the real-time platform - is expected to go live in 2017.
Alain Raes, chief executive, of Emea and Asia Pacific at Swift, says: "Australia is one of a growing number of countries looking to implement new domestic payments systems in order to achieve faster and more cost-efficient payments. This is a significant first step for Swift in this space. We are very excited by the project and look forward to partnering with the community on this initiative."
Beyond Australia, he says Swift is now exploring how best to deploy these capabilities as a standardised platform across multiple markets, generating economies of scale for users of its network.