Australia’s New Payments Platform Invites Startups Via API

New Payments Platform (NPP) Australia, the nation’s real-time payments service that went live earlier this year, is now seeking collaboration from FinTech firms and developers through the launch of a developer sandbox.

Reports in the Australian Financial Review (AFR) on Wednesday (Oct. 17) said NPP Australia, along with payments messaging firm SWIFT, is launching the sandbox via application programming interfaces (APIs) that will allow startups and FinTech developers to integrate NPP’s real-time payments functionality into their own solutions. The move follows criticism from the Productivity Commission that raised concerns over ease-of-access to the NPP system.

Dubbed the NPP API Framework, NPP Australia’s sandbox aims to promote “open access” to the payments platform and offer “companies and innovators the chance to understand how they can use its world-leading capabilities,” according to NPP Australia CEO Adrian Lovney.

SWIFT CEO Gottfried Leibbrandt said the sandbox promotes consistency and interoperability of NPP-fueled innovation.

“We see APIs as a big part of the overlay service,” he told the publication. “We really want to play a facilitation role there. APIs can encourage the openness of the system. A lot of [FinTech firms] are interested in working with banks, and the more we can facilitate that by providing APIs into SWIFT or into the service of banks, the better.”

The NPP was an initiative spearheaded largely by the nation’s biggest banks, which spent more than $70 million on the project. However, critics said that because it was designed by larger institutions, smaller players and FinTech startups have less access to the platform.

Alan Tsen, chairman of FinTech Australia, told the AFR that the new sandbox is “key to enabling the FinTech community” to understand the NPP, “so we welcome this development.”

When the NPP went live earlier this year, Lovney spoke with PYMNTS’ Karen Webster about how businesses seek a streamlined integration with the nation’s payments system.

“Increasingly, businesses want to make one connection to one payments framework,” he said. “They are looking for some consistency in how they integrate with a payments system.”