NPP promises more than real-time payments

With the New Payments Platform seemingly on schedule to be up and running in October, its designer-operators have been turning their minds to what lies beyond launch date.

Speaking yesterday in Sydney at a briefing organised by funds management software vendors Calastone, SWIFT’s commercial director securities, Kees Middendorp, picked up the theme of possibilities imagined but not yet in place, and ran with it.

Middendorp noted the open source design of the overlay, with ASX and settlement optionality now that the CHESS replacement project is underway.

“There may possibly be same-day settlement via block chain with payments made in real time. The game will be faster and more efficient flows of funds but both parties to the transaction need to be in Australia to use the NPP,” he said.

Share registries will benefit from real time payment of dividends and distribution of supporting documents.

“Funds will gain from real-time flow of payments: subscriptions and redemptions.”

Share trading will also enter a new zone with corporate actions such as takeovers allowing real-time payment of proceeds in a takeover bid and, in theory at least, possibly decreasing the timetable to completion of a M&A deal.

Banks should benefit from the inherent “Know your customer” improvements with more characters and more information able to be included in each transaction. Richer data in real time will allow management of fraud and sanctions checks.

Those that succeed in harnessing the potential of the NPP will have opportunities to improve customers’ experience – but it will require more expensive resources and expertise to achieve this.

In discussion afterwards the SWIFT technical experts advised that the project had moved on from small payments to amounts that were, in theory at least, only limited by the amount of funds on deposit by a particular bank with the RBA.

That is, the theoretical limit is one dollar short of A$100 billion, although settlement of a transfer of that magnitude would test the entire Australian banking system for liquidity. In such a case, it would more likely be a fat finger episode.

This article first appeared in Banking Day.

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