Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates from the Australian Government

Terms of Reference for the Review of the Australian Payments System

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The Government is committed to a modern payments system that meets the current and future needs of all Australians. Consistent with this, the Government is commissioning a review into the regulatory architecture of the payments system to ensure it is fit-for-purpose and responsive to advances in payments technology.

This is particularly important now as the COVID-19 pandemic has seen consumer appetite for using different payment platforms accelerate, including a significant increase in demand for digital payments. Continued innovation of this key economic infrastructure will be central to lowering transaction costs, reducing the cost to doing business and supporting the economic recovery.

The regulatory architecture that applies to these new technologies, businesses and products have served us well, but have remained largely unchanged for over two decades. This review would look at the roles of industry self-regulation, regulators and the Government and consider whether the balance is right in promoting competition, innovation, efficiency, resilience and stability of the system. The review will assess:

  • The current structure of the governance and regulation of the payments system to assess whether it is fit for purpose, including whether the regulatory framework adequately accommodates new and innovative systems and the effectiveness of the current structure in implementing government policy;
  • How to create more productivity-enhancing innovation and competition in the payments system, including in relation to the pace and manner in which the New Payments Platform is being rolled out and enhanced by industry;
  • Ways to improve the understanding of businesses and consumers of alternative payment methods;
  • Whether government payment systems, including payments to citizens, are agile and can take advantage of new payments functionality, to enhance service delivery; and
  • Global trends and how Australia should respond to these trends to ensure that it continues to remain internationally competitive.

Process

The review will provide a report to Government by April 2021 and will be led by Scott Farrell with the Treasury providing secretariat support.

This review will not explicitly consider specific regulatory settings that are currently in place, but will focus on the overall regulatory architecture.

The review will take into account international best practice, and seek views from the industry and consumers on the regulatory architecture that would be conducive to greater innovation and technology take up. It will also ensure that the Government’s announced reforms to Stored Value Facilities will be taken into account in making its recommendations.