Digital identity, virtual cash and RegTech on Australian regulatory agenda

Digital identity, virtual cash and RegTech on Australian regulatory agenda

ATM access, digital identity and virtual currencies topped the agenda at the recent meeting of the Reserve Bank of Australia's powerful Payments Systems Board.

While discussion around an industry consultation on the future of the ATM Access Code and Access Regime dominated, the Board also touched on the role that digital currencies could potentially play in the payments system. It noted recent international work on whether there might be a demand for ‘digital cash’ issued by central banks and, if so, what form it might take. While the talks yielded no direct mandates, the RBI agreed that it should continue to consider the technical and policy issues associated with the technology.

The Board also discussed the moves towards the development of a digital identity framework in Australia, noting the potential to make online interactions more convenient and secure, and reverse the rise in fraud rates on card transactions. Board members encouraged the payments industry to work collaboratively on digital identity and also noted the importance of engagement between banks and government on this issue.

The meeting was held just a week after Australia's largest credit union, CUA, and foreign exchange outfit Travelex announced plans to adopt a new digital identity platform from Australia Post, which allows consumers to verify who they are without needing multiple forms of identification.

Separately, Australia's Securities and Investment Commission has announced plans to hold a showcase event on regulatory technology on 18 September 2017 in Sydney. Asic says the evenet will aim to stimulate engagement, explore the opportunities and barriers to RegTech deployment and identify potential areas for collaboration.

Asic commissioner John Price says. ‘Asic does not regulate regtech directly but we do want to promote it to improve compliance outcomes, and think we have an important role to play as a facilitator of regtech engagement within the sector’.

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