What is BPAY?

author-avatar By on May 24, 2021
What is BPAY?

You’ve no doubt seen ‘BPAY’ as a payments option by now, but what is it, and how does it work?

Nowadays, Australians are presented with a variety of payment options. Cash, debit card, credit card, direct debit, buy now pay later, PayPal, and yes, cheque, just to name a few. Australia is one of the world’s leading countries when it comes to payment market maturity and variety. BPAY is essentially another way to pay for some goods and services, but what is it exactly, and how does it work?

In this article…

    In the market for a personal loan? The table below features personal loans with some of the lowest interest rates on the market.

    What is BPAY?

    As the name might suggest, ‘BPAY’ is essentially short for ‘bill pay'. BPAY is an easy and secure way to manage your bills with one payment method all through your online or mobile banking. BPAY has been in business for more than 20 years, and is available across more than 150 banks and financial institutions. An additional 60,000 businesses also offer BPAY as a payments option. It is also available with other bill payment innovations such as Sniip. Really, it’s become as ubiquitous as cash or a debit card.

    A recent survey commissioned by BPAY shows nearly three in four Millennials are frustrated with managing direct debit payments. Nearly a third are also worried about not having enough money in their account when direct debits are processed. With BPAY, a lot of that hassle is eliminated, so how does it work?

    How does BPAY work?

    BPAY is most often presented as an option when it comes time to pay some bills. You’ve most likely seen the logo on your phone or internet bill, or your electricity/gas bill. Unlike direct debit, when you pay with BPAY you are in control - you control exactly what you spend, and securely too.

    Usually when a bill comes in and it’s time to make a payment, you head to your online or mobile banking portal. From there, you click on ‘Pay’ or ‘Transfer’ or whatever your institution’s terminology is, and BPAY is usually presented as an option. Then, you enter the payee’s biller code, and your unique customer reference number.

    You can see in the screen grab below my internet bill from Optus - I’ve whitened out the customer reference number, so don’t go paying my bills heheh.

    Optusbpay.jpg

    BPAY View

    BPAY also offers a service called ‘View’. Quite simply, using View, bills are delivered directly to your bank account, so your bills don’t get lost in your email inbox or in the mail. This makes it possible to keep it all in one place for easy payments. Note that some institutions might not have this feature - so double check your bank account to make sure.

    BPAY Processing Times

    If your payment is made on a bank business day before 6pm (Sydney/Melbourne time… of course), it will be debited from your account instantly, and processed that day. The biller is required (under BPAY’s rules) to treat your payment as being received on that same day. However, if you make a payment on a weekend, public holiday, or after 6pm, it will likely be processed the next business day. As you might expect, Christmas and Easter might present some interesting hurdles, so plan your bill payments accordingly.

    BPAY compared to other payments options

    When it comes to paying bills, there are a whole host of payment options, and frankly, BPAY comes out on top in a lot of scenarios.

    Pros

    • It’s cheaper than other payments: Paying bills via debit or credit card often attracts a fee of 1% or more, and so too does paying via Australia Post, for example.

    • You are in control: Unlike direct debit, payment is in your hands with BPAY. With direct debit, you are essentially giving your payee permission to take money out of your account. Stopping that usually requires a call to the payee, which can be a pain.

    Cons

    • Not automatic unless you set it up that way: As you are in control, BPAY bill payments are not automatic unless they are set up that way. However, this is usually able to be done in seconds through your online or mobile banking portal.

    • Limited recourse for refunds: Your bank can’t get a refund for a BPAY payment if a business doesn’t deliver. This is at odds with say, credit cards and PayPal, where the institution goes into bat for you - but you usually pay accordingly with the fees they charge to transact through them.

    BPAY Biller Code Lookup - Popular Brands

    • Telstra Corporation Ltd - 23796

    • Optus

      • Mobile - 3079

      • TV/Net Cable - 3087

    • Vodafone Postpaid - 5225

    • Origin

      • Electricity - 747428

      • Gas - 747436

      • LPG (Qld) - 5660

    • EnergyAustralia - 3111

    • AGL Electricity & Gas - 208868

    • Woolworths

      • Woolworths Limited - 187997

      • Credit Card - 17574

      • Ezy Banking - 24448

      • Mobile - 646745

    • Coles

      • Target Group Card - 8730

      • KMart Group Card - 8813

      • Coles Mastercard - 8862

      • Coles Insurance Claims - 275057

    These details were correct at time of writing. If in doubt, check the BPAY website, or confirm the biller code on your bill.


    Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

    Disclaimers

    The entire market was not considered in selecting the above products. Rather, a cut-down portion of the market has been considered which includes retail products from at least the big four banks, the top 10 customer-owned institutions and Australia’s larger non-banks:
    • The big four banks are: ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac
    • The top 10 customer-owned Institutions are the ten largest mutual banks, credit unions and building societies in Australia, ranked by assets under management in November 2019. They are (in descending order): Credit Union Australia, Newcastle Permanent, Heritage Bank, Peoples’ Choice Credit Union, Teachers Mutual Bank, Greater Bank, IMB Bank, Beyond Bank, Bank Australia and P&N Bank.
    • The larger non-bank lenders are those who (in 2020) has more than $9 billion in Australian funded loans and advances. These groups are: Resimac, Pepper, Liberty and Firstmac.
    • If you click on a product link and you are referred to a Product or Service Provider’s web page, it is highly likely that a commercial relationship exists between that Product or Service Provider and Savings.com.au

    Some providers' products may not be available in all states.

    In the interests of full disclosure, Savings.com.au, Performance Drive and Loans.com.au are part of the Firstmac Group. To read about how Savings.com.au manages potential conflicts of interest, along with how we get paid, please click through onto the web site links.

    *The Comparison rate is based on a $30,000 loan over 5 years. Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate.

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    author-avatar
    Harrison joined Savings in 2020. He is an experienced journalist, with previous stints at News Corp and financial comparison site Canstar. With a keen interest in personal finance, Harrison is passionate about helping consumers make more informed financial decisions.

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