Sunday , February 25 2018
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Payments System Board Update: November 2017 Meeting

Summary:
At its meeting today, the Payments System Board discussed a number of issues, including: Recent trends in payment card fraud and various industry initiatives aimed at tackling it. Members observed that there had been a significant increase in card-not-present fraud over recent years. Fraud is costly to merchants and other participants in the payments system and can undermine trust in electronic payments. The Board agreed that addressing this rise in fraud should be a priority for the industry. Members welcomed the various initiatives already underway and encouraged industry participants to work together to expedite an effective solution.

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At its meeting today, the Payments System Board discussed a number of issues, including:

  • Recent trends in payment card fraud and various industry initiatives aimed at tackling it. Members observed that there had been a significant increase in card-not-present fraud over recent years. Fraud is costly to merchants and other participants in the payments system and can undermine trust in electronic payments. The Board agreed that addressing this rise in fraud should be a priority for the industry. Members welcomed the various initiatives already underway and encouraged industry participants to work together to expedite an effective solution.
  • The cost of payments to merchants. The Board observed that there was a modest decrease in average merchant service fees in the September quarter, with the new interchange standards having taken effect on 1 July. The Board was briefed on data showing the distribution of payment costs for merchants. These data indicate that payment costs are typically higher for smaller merchants, and confirm that debit cards are generally less costly for merchants than credit cards, with eftpos being a lower-cost system on average than the Debit MasterCard and Visa Debit systems. The Board strongly supported calls from a range of stakeholders for acquirers to provide merchants with least-cost routing functionality for contactless transactions using dual-network debit cards. It requested the Bank staff to continue to engage with the payments industry on this issue, recognising that a prompt industry solution was preferable to regulation.
  • Recent developments in the ATM industry including the decisions by a number of banks to remove the fees charged to non-customers on ATM transactions. Members noted that ATM coverage is relatively high by international standards, and that the number of ATMs in Australia had reached a record high while the number of transactions at ATMs was declining. In this context, they agreed there may be scope for consolidation or fleet rationalisation that results in a more efficient and sustainable ATM industry while still maintaining broad access to ATMs.
  • The staff's assessment of LCH Ltd's SwapClear Service, a UK-based clearing and settlement facility licensed to operate in Australia. The Bank will provide the assessment report to the Assistant Treasurer and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, as well as making its findings available to overseas counterparts with a supervisory interest in LCH Ltd, after which the assessment report will be published on the Bank’s website.

The Board also approved a minor technical variation to the interchange standards which will be published next week. Bank staff have consulted informally with acquirers and schemes who have indicated that this change may result in a reduction in compliance costs.

Reserve Bank Australia
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) came into being on 14 January 1960 as Australia's central bank and banknote issuing authority, when the Reserve Bank Act 1959 removed the central banking functions from the Commonwealth Bank. The bank has the responsibility of providing services to the Government of Australia in addition to also providing services to other central banks and official institutions. It currently consists of the Payments System Board, which governs the payments system policy of the bank, and the Reserve Bank Board, which governs all other monetary and banking policies of the bank.

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