RBA Governor dissatisfied with big four banks’ slow NPP progress

William Jolly By on February 26, 2019

RBA Governor Philip Lowe has given the big four banks a public dressing down over their delays in properly installing the NPP (new payments platform) into their processes.

In his speech at the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics on 22 February, Dr Lowe made his disappointment over the slow progress be known.

Dr Lowe said the missed deadlines by major banks had “regrettably, slowed the pace of innovation in the overall system, given the substantial network effects that exist in payment systems”.

“Late last year I wrote to the CEOs of the major banks on behalf of the Payments System Board, expressing our concerns and seeking a commitment that the updated time lines be satisfied,” he said.

“It’s important that these commitments are kept.”

rba governor philip lowe headshot
RBA Governor Philip Lowe

This hard stance on the major banks comes a few months after Dr Lowe criticised them in November 2018 at the Australian Payments Summit for the slow pace of upgrades needed to plug in the New Payments Platform.

At the time, Dr Lowe said all major banks need to do better.

“As we rely less on cash, outages affecting retail transactions can have a significant impact on businesses and individuals. So continued effort needs to be made by all participants in the payments system to reduce operational problems,” he said.

“If this does not happen, then it is possible that the Payments System Board could consider setting some standards.”

The NPP is seen as the future of payments in Australia, doing away with the oft-dreaded two-three day delay in sending payments to friends, family and colleagues.

In a meeting of the Payments System Board on 22 February, members noted that for the NPP to reach its full potential, all financial institutions need to fully enable the capacity for their customers to send and receive payments, and that RBA staff would continue to monitor the progress of the major banks.

Do any of the big four banks use the NPP?

Technically each of the big four – ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac – use the NPP in some capacity, but not to the extent the RBA would like.

Commonwealth Bank and NAB currently offer the NPP in both their online banking platforms and mobile apps, but ANZ and Westpac only allow online banking customers to use it.

Users of the latter two’s mobile apps are still waiting.

Who uses the NPP?

There are currently 75 banks and financial institutions holding 52 million different bank accounts that currently allow people to make real-time payments with the NPP, according to a one-year update provided by the NPP itself.

From these institutions, more than 2.5 million PayIDs have been created using either phone numbers of email addresses.

More than 90 million transactions have been made using the NPP worth more than $75 billion. 

Since the introduction of the NPP, credit and debit transfers have declined significantly in popularity, falling by 17% and 36% respectively.

The NPP is also eliminating the need for cheques, with 1.5 million fewer cheques (24%) being written since it was first rolled out.

People can check if their financial institution has the NPP here.


For feedback or queries, email will.jolly@savings.com.au

Lead picture source: RBA

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