Australia Launches New Payments Platform to Step Up Peer-to-Peer Payments

February 16, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

With mobile payments catching on worldwide, and in some cases at absolutely phenomenal growth rates, it’s not surprising to see more participants get into the market. Recently another competitor joined in the fray in Australia, as a coalition of banks got together to produce the New Payments Platform, which should speed up payments across the spectrum.

The New Payments Platform is said to be part of a larger overall initiative that will help bring overall payments infrastructure in line with growth patterns in the digital economy. A development of 13 financial services operations, including four of Australia’s biggest banks and the Federal Reserve Bank of Australia, the new system will allow users to make and receive payments much more rapidly.

The system allows payments to be made through a system known as PayID, a service that uses email addresses, phone numbers, or the Australian Business Number system to authenticate payments. This reduces the importance placed on bank account numbers, and should speed the system up from its current two-to-three-day wait. The bad news is that, right now, only the Commonwealth Bank is using the New Payments Platform, though 60 other banks are set to follow.

A new system like this is a welcome arrival, as Australia increasingly eschews cash in favor of other payment systems. The increasingly digital economy has brought with it a steady decline in ATM withdrawals, and the overall value of these withdrawals as well. Over the last five years, ATM withdrawals are down 22 percent as Australians see less need for cash.

Dubbing a new payments platform the New Payments Platform is like going to the store for a box of Cereal. No, not Lucky Charms or Raisin Bran, Cereal. However, does it particularly matter what they’ve called it, if it works and provides Australians with the mobile payments system they both clearly want and need? Given the rate of adoption of mobile payments, mobile commerce, and similar issues, there’s an obvious point to making the current system faster and better.

So while the Australian system has all the naming verve of a two-year-old pointing at an object and declaring what it is in the loudest voice he can muster, this matters much less against a system that can do the job.