Media Release Payments System Issues – Payments Council MoU, EFTPOS Access Regime and Review of Card Payments Regulation
Memorandum of Understanding between the Payments System Board and the Australian Payments Council
The Payments System Board (the Board) and the Australian Payments Council (the Council) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), setting out a framework for engagement between the two bodies. The MoU was signed in conjunction with the first meeting between the two parties on 21 August.
The Council was created to enhance industry coordination in dealing with the cooperative issues that arise in the payments system and to represent the industry directly in discussions with the Board. The Council held its inaugural meeting in late 2014 and has recently been consulting on an Australian Payments Plan, seeking views on desirable characteristics for the Australian payments system, long-term trends and systemic challenges.
Revocation of the EFTPOS Access Regime and the 2004 EFTPOS Designation
Following a decision of the Board, the Reserve Bank has revoked the Access Regime applying to the EFTPOS system in Australia, along with the 2004 designation of the EFTPOS system.
The Access Regime was introduced in September 2006 to improve competition and efficiency in the EFTPOS system, which at that time consisted of a series of bilateral connections and business arrangements between participants. With the establishment of a central hub by eftpos Payments Australia Limited (ePAL), the Board judged that suitable access arrangements were now in place such that the Access Regime could be removed.
This revocation also enabled the Bank to revoke the designation of the EFTPOS system that was gazetted in September 2004, as the Access Regime was the only remaining instrument to rely on this designation. The June 2012 designation of the system governed by ePAL remains in effect.
Review of Card Payments Regulation
The Board also discussed its ongoing review of card payments regulation at its 21 August meeting. It has asked the Bank staff to liaise with industry participants on the possible designation of certain card systems (including the bank-issued American Express companion card system, the Debit MasterCard system and the eftpos, MasterCard and Visa prepaid card systems). The Bank has the power under the Payment Systems (Regulation) Act 1998 to designate a payment system if it considers that doing so is in the public interest. The decision to designate a system is the first of a number of steps the Bank must take to exercise any of its powers, such as imposing an access regime on a system or setting standards for the safety and efficiency of that system.