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Connexus : Issue 41
whereby people with a computer or mobile device can belong to dozens of networks – social, financial, payment or any other kind – easily and continuously. So payment ser vices will proliferate to ser ve multiple different groups of payer s and payees. Second, this market trend means that concepts such as payment systems, which used to be utilities (think cheques), ar e now part of a competitive space. In its review, the RBA also suggested that a real-time retail payment system would best be delivered by the establishment of a hub, rather than a web of bilateral links. Hamilton has an open mind on the delivery system. “We are keen togetthe industry to engage and and respond on that.” Hamilton says that, while Australia is well-advised to examine popular foreign models such as the United Kingdom’s acclaimed Faster Payments Ser v ice, the industry here should understand that each market is unique and may require a different solution. For example, he notes that the UK system was introduced when its electronic payments system had a three-day settlement cycle (Australia’s has been overnight for many years) and there was no equivalent to BPAY. “So we have to bear in mind that all the things that have happened overseas are very much products of their particular environments, and Australia is different.” In response to the specific RBA recommendation that APCA should broaden its governance structure to temper the influence of the major banks and seek more input from smaller financial institutions, Hamilton says his board supports the principle of hearing “a full range of voices”. That includes listening to the views of credit unions, building societies and mutual banks through Abacus as the peak representative body for the industry. “I think Abacus has an important role to play as a good place to represent the interests of that broader community. If it does its job well of gathering those views, balancing out what are the intentions across its own memberships and coming up with a good, clear perspective from that community, then that’s enormously helpful.” mutual movers Mutuals know they will have to move astutely or be left behind in this new pay ments era. As part of a digital overhaul, CUA recently released its first mobile banking app for iPhones and Androids. CUA chief information officer David Gee says initial feedback from members has been very positive – “an incredible response”. Gee, who in for mer CIO roles helped car r y out systems transfor mation, says there is some merit in smaller financial institutions waiting to see how the pay ments market matures before over- committing resources. While the CBA and St George banks have released mobile apps using what is called ‘near field communication’, allow ing smar tphones to communicate with each other, Gee believes it is too early for CUA to commit to such technology. He says ever y new technology goes through the “holy war s” as the market decides which option is best, and the payments space will not be any different. “There’s a lot of hype and you have to boil it all down and see what’s really real. I don’t want to cast aspersions on what other people are doing, but sometimes people just try to do the cool stuff @ Sometimes people just try to do the cool stuff because it looks cool and provides the impression that it’s advanced. But is it sustainable? NEWS 14 Connexus