Operator issues tech roadmap for New Payments Platform

Banks will be required to support data-rich transactions and a new mandated payments service

Credit: Dreamstime

Participants in Australia’s New Payments Platform will be directed to roll out support for a range of new capabilities between now and the end of 2022, under a technology roadmap (PDF) published today by the NPP’s operator.

NPP Australia (NPPA) is custodian of the platform, which facilitates always-on, real-time bank payments, data-enriched transactions (allowing extra information and potentially even documents to be attached to a transaction), and simplified addressing for payments (via PayID).

NPPA is mutually owned by the Big Four banks, as well as Bendigo Bank, Citi, payments processor Cuscal, HSBC, Indue, ING, Macquarie Bank, ASL and the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Figures released today by NPPA said that the platform, which launched around two years ago, is processing an average of 750,000 payments worth $750 million every day. Earlier this year Centrelink revealed it had begun using the platform.

Some 3.6 million PayIDs have been registered for the NPP, offering an alternative to BSB and account numbers to direct payments. (That particular feature of the platform has been linked to at least two security incidents involving unauthorised PayID lookups: One involving Cuscal and one involving Westpac.)

Although a number of participants — NPPA says that around 85 institutions directly or indirectly use the NPP — are building services over the top of the NPP, the platform operator says that it is also working on expanding its native capabilities.

“We’re focused on developing additional native capability that can support a range of use cases, which can be used by participating financial institutions and third parties to do different things,” NPPA chief executive Adrian Lovney said in a statement.

“By developing native platform capability, governed by a common rules framework administered by NPPA, it is akin to providing ‘building blocks’ that others can put together in different ways to deliver payment products and services outside the platform.

“NPPA does this by establishing different ‘business services’ that have different uses. A business service can either be used in its native form by participating financial institutions and third parties, or it can be further built upon and commercialised by an organisation wanting to develop an Overlay Service on top.”

The roadmap includes two key capabilities that participating financial institutions will be required to implement:

• Message standards to take advantage of the platform’s structured data capabilities. By December 2020, NPP participants need to be capable of receiving messages with that support data elements for payroll, tax, superannuation and e-invoicing payments.

• Development of a mandated payment service: Currently the platform supports ‘push’ payments where a customer authorises a payment at the same time as it happens. Financial institutions will be required to roll out support for a mandated payment service, where authority is provided ahead of time, by December 2021.

“This core foundational capability will enable a range of use cases in the future, such as recurring or subscription type payments, ecommerce and ‘on behalf of’ services such as a corporate using a cloud accounting software provider to do their payroll run,” the roadmap states. “Having a standardised and consistent approach to this payment initiation capability will maximise the utility of the capability and provide a broad, scalable approach to third party payment initiation.”

The Reserve Bank earlier this year said that NPPA should introduce fines for financial institutions that participate in the platform but do not support its core capabilities.

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Tags banksReserve Bank of Australia (RBA)New Payments Platform

More about ASLAustraliaBendigo BankCentrelinkHSBCIndueMacquarie BankReserve Bank of AustraliaWestpac

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