Real-time payments to be rolled out in Australia by VocaLink, First Data & Accenture

11 September 2012

Payment processor, First Data, is to team up with the Accenture consultancy and VocaLink to introduce a technical solution for immediate payments in Australia. The solution, which will rely on VocaLink existing investments and platform in this area, will most likely not come into being until next year at the earliest, as the partners begin consultations with the country’s banks.

Immediate payments would enable Australian consumers and businesses to transfer funds between bank accounts in near real-time, instead of waiting between one-to-three days. The move mirrors what happened in the UK after the introduction of the UK Faster Payments Service (FPS), which relies on VocaLink’s infrastructure and back-end technology, and cut the amount time it takes to clear payments.

Under the agreement, First Data will provide its expertise in real-time payment processing, as well as a secure, scalable, multi-client payment hub. VocaLink’s immediate payments software solution, which uses the technology and lessons learnt from the FPS rollout in the UK, is currently being deployed internationally where clients exist and should be transferable to Australia. Accenture will advise the partners.

“We are pleased to enter into this agreement with Accenture and VocaLink and look forward to engaging with the industry on potential governance models for our proposed technical solution,” said John Tait, managing director of First Data in Australia and New Zealand. “Our ultimate goal is to provide innovation to Australian consumers, and we recognise that this can only be achieved through a cooperative approach and defined by a broad group of stakeholders, driven at the industry level.”

The companies will now seek input from key industry participants to collaboratively define, scope and develop the technical, operational and governance elements of the solution. The objective is to offer a platform for payments innovation, consistent with the goals outlined in the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) review of innovation in the payments system. A mobile payments platform may also be added on to the scope of the project, mirroring moves underway in the UK.

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