Australia will have real-time bank transfers by 2017

Peter Terlato 14 October 2016

Fast bank payments phone

Detailed remittance information and ancillary services will also be possible.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) announced it will introduce an open access payments platform next year, making real-time fund transfers a reality.

The new financial system will enable everyday Australians, businesses and government agencies to make payments in near real-time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

When sending funds the inclusion of a recipient's BSB and account number won't be necessary as payments can be addressed to a phone number or email address.

The platform will also allow for more comprehensive remittance information to be added to outgoing payment messages and can support a range of additional, independent overlay services.

Just a few months ago, in a guest post on OECD Insights, Blockchain and YBUSA co-founder Nicolas Cary said the global finance industry was still reliant upon decades old services and fee structures.

"Technology makes it possible for instantaneous payments, except that right now it takes days, or even weeks to make basic transactions. All this begs the question: why can’t money be digital too?" he said.

It seems the RBA has heeded calls for modernisation and technological reform, planning to implement its New Payments Platform (NPP) late in 2017.

The NPP's development began in 2012, when the RBA set out future objectives in its report on the Strategic Review of Innovation in the Payments System.

Following this, in 2014, 12 authorised deposit taking institutions contributed funds to build and operate the NPP, while the RBA committed to constructing a fast settlement service, enabling 24/7 payments.

Research suggests Australians are ready to embrace fintech banking solutions, and the launch of three new London-based chatbot startups may be a sign the rest of the world is gearing up for a revolution too.

Recently, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and British bank Barclays partnered to simplify, streamline and speed up money transfers between Australia and the United Kingdom.

Prior to this CBA joined a consortium of global banking institutions to test the efficiency of blockchain technology, successfully designing "smart contracts" to process globally-recognised transactions.

For more information, news and weekly roundups of Australia's burgeoning fintech industry, check out our comprehensive guide to Australia's innovation landscape.

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