Aussie Reserve Bank Throws Shade On Banks’ Slow Response To New Payments Platform

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has sent a warning to major banks that its slow progress in implementing the New Payments Platform (NPP) has hindered the system’s benefits, and made it harder to market to customers. NPP Australia counts the big four banks as members, but the RBA isn’t satisfied with how long it is taking the financial institutions (FIs) to implement the system.

“Industry should be aware that the regulator and the public, in general, will be expecting the payments industry to deliver on the promise of the NPP,” said Assistant Governor Michele Bullock in a speech on Thursday (May 16), according to the  Financial Review.

These comments come a year after Bullock took the banks to task for their “disappointing” use of the NPP since it launched.

“They had many, many years to get on top of this and [to] discover, as we were going live, that they weren’t ready, [which] was a bit disappointing really,” she told federal parliament in August.

In fact, all the banks are at varying stages of implementation. Westpac switched the platform on for customers of its own brand, but not for subsidiaries such as St. George, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia has been launching it in stages. Also, ANZ Banking Group offered the service to its customers, but not on its app, and NAB made the platform available across all its digital channels.

“These gaps have made it very difficult for NPP participants to market the new service to their customers,” said Bullock. “The value of the NPP to users is much lower than it could be if payment initiation and account reach were more progressed. To realize the full benefits of the NPP, most [FIs], particularly the larger ones, need to be involved in sending and receiving fast payments.”



The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.