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Australia’s Real Time Payments System Released to the Public

  • By Andrew Deichler
  • Published: 2/20/2018

Last week, real-time, data-rich payments were released to the public in Australia. With this launch, corporates and consumers all across Australia can now transfer funds instantly.

The New Payments Platform (NPP), which SWIFT helped design, first went live November, supporting transactions between a number of banks, building societies and credit unions.

Though a domestic system, NPP was designed to respond to gaps identified in international platforms. Some of its features include:

  • A layered architecture that can support multiple services
  • Significant data capability through the use of ISO 20022
  • PayID, and addressing service that allows payments to be made to simpler identifiers than BSB and account numbers
  • Real-time settlement through the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Fast Settlement Service.

Magnus Carlsson, AFP’s manager of treasury and payments, said that it is “very exciting” to see the NPP go live. “The four specific features are spot on, and the use of ISO 20022 shows again that this is the payments standard for the future,” he said.

According to Adrian Lovney, CEO of NPP Australia, the platform’s open access design allows for different entities to leverage its functionality in different ways. “Innovative organizations can choose to build upon the platform’s capabilities to develop and launch overlay services on the platform,” he said. “These could be payments experiences, or they could be business applications that enable significant organizational efficiencies.”

Corporate treasurers will be particularly interested in the platform’s enhanced abilities to transmit more data alongside a payment. “We see the Platform’s data capability as a potential boon for future business applications,” Lovney added. “From simpler invoicing to automatic reconciliation across core business processes—as organizations continue to digitize their back offices, we believe the New Payments Platform will provide an important building block for innovation.”

There are currently 13 financial institutions participating in NPP. Over the next month, they will be joined by more than 60 banks, building societies and credit unions. Most will offer the service through Osko by BPAY.

Alain Raes, chief executive of EMEA and APAC for SWIFT, said the enablement of real time payments in the Australia could have a more revolutionary impact on the economy than any previous payments system innovation. NPP is a key cog in SWIFT’s broader global instant payments strategy, which also includes an instant payments messaging service for the euro area set to release in November 2018 to coincide with the launch of TARGET Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS).

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