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Australian banks welcome real-time payments service

New architecture will link banks to Reserve Bank settlement facilities, enabling real-time transfers

Banks have responded positively to the Australian Payments Clearing Association's proposal for new real-time payments infrastructure, saying it will lead to more innovation in areas such as mobile payments.

Under the APCA’s real-time payments committee proposal, a new payments clearing infrastructure will be created for Australian banks.

The clearing utility will connect all financial institutions and link to the Reserve Bank of Australia's settlement facilities to enable real-time transfers and permit automated processing of information along with the payment. The Australian financial services industry is working to have the new infrastructure and consumer convenience service available by December 2016.

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Real-time payments committee chair Dr Jennifer Fagg, said it is looking forward to a range of payment services developing over time.

“The bottom line is this would be good for Australian consumers and businesses—giving them more choice in making payments safely,” she said.

The committee includes representatives from ANZ Banking Group, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), Citigroup, Cuscal, National Australia Bank (NAB) and Westpac.

According to NAB working capital services executive general manager David Gall, the network wide real-time payments system will be a “catalyst” for increased competition between payment providers and foster greater innovation--in particular, mobile payments.

“Businesses will have access to more timely information, helping them better manage their business and cash flow,” he said in a statement.

“Ultimately it'll provide businesses as well as consumers with a wider range of payment options best suited to their needs."

A CBA spokesperson said it welcomed the introduction of a real time payments hub and a commitment to deliver it by 2016.

“We look forward to further growth in innovative payment devices and channels that our customers have shown their appreciation for,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

A Westpac Group spokesperson said in a statement that the bank fully supports the development of commercially-based, next generation, real-time payments infrastructure in Australia.

In July last year CEO of the Australia Payments Clearing Association (APCA), Chris Hamilton, said there was certainly a demand for a real-time payment platform at the bank architecture level, but it’s difficult to determine customer take-up, which is why the industry was not seeing a strong business case for it at the time.

ANZ Banking Group has also been contacted for comment by CIO Australia.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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Tags real-time paymentsAustralian Payments Clearing Association (APCA)Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA)CBAANZ Banking Group LtdWestpacNAB

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