The Current Problem
You go out to dinner with friends, you’re having a great night & what could possibly go wrong? Then the end of the night comes, and the waiter utters that dreaded sentence…
“Unfortunately we don’t do split bills…”
This is a hassle that we have all experienced as with the high dispersion of banking providers among consumers, there is bound to be at least one of your friends that uses a different provider to you. As we all know, it can take up to 3 business days for payments to be transferred between different banks – which is extremely frustrating.
Although this delay can be a pain for consumers, perhaps the biggest sufferer of delayed inter-bank payments in Australia is small business. Late payments have been described as the “silent killer” of Australian small businesses. Another major problem for small businesses in Australia is poor cash flow – research has found that small business owners spend an average of 12 days in a year chasing unpaid invoices. This forces small businesses to focus on surviving rather than thriving, due to the stress that arises from chasing these payments.
Australia is a front runner in embracing electronic payments, however Australia’s existing infrastructure does not have the capability to support the evolving needs of a 24/7 digital economy. The RBA has now come up with the answer: The New Payments Platform. The New Payments Platform or NPP is a platform that: “Can empower businesses to become more efficient, reduce costs and improve their customer service”. A big win for Aussie small business!
The Way it Works
Users will be able to transfer money between bank accounts in real time, through an identifier such as an email address, phone number or ABN number. This provides unprecedented efficiency and convenience with transferring money (no more sharing of lengthy BSB and account number details). Users will also be able to include richer data with each payment – 280 characters will be allowed to be added to each payment rather than the 18 characters currently allowed by banks, which will facilitate e-invoicing and instant processing.
Fast Settlement Service
The Reserve Bank of Australia will provide the Fast Settlement Service (FSS), which enables all payments made on the NPP to be settled in real-time central bank funds, across each financial institution’s Exchange Settlement Account (ESA).
Overlay services are payment related products or services that can adopt the benefits of the basic infrastructure. This provides a platform for competition and innovation, with each product and service having the possibility of offering differing or similar experiences. The first Overlay Service to go live on the NPP will be Osko by BPAY.
This new platform represents a great opportunity for small business in Australia, as a more efficient, accountable payment system is a welcome change to increase productivity within small businesses. Small business is continually proving to be a crucial contributor for Australia’s economy, and is a sector that can benefit greatly from the New Payments Platform. We can’t wait for this system to kick in, as we are looking forward to seeing our clients experience the benefits of this new system!