Australia vs New Zealand payment tech & what’s new in 2023
Australia and New Zealand. Two nations so alike, but in other ways so different; an antipodean version of the US and Canada or the UK and Ireland.
Finance forms one of those key differences, for reasons we’ll soon explore. But as globalisation continues unabated, the differences seen now are likely to get smaller over time, as the world takes an increasingly consistent and collaborative approach to money.
In this article we’ll specifically be comparing the Australian and Kiwi approaches to electronic payments. We’ll look at the current state of affairs, where things might be headed, and the trends that might drive this change.
Payment tech: Australia vs New Zealand
The difference between Australian and Kiwi payment tech can be summed up in a single (if hyphenated) word: real-time.
Real-time payments in Australia
In February 2018, after years of research and development, the Reserve Bank of Australia launched the New Payments Platform (NPP). The system enabled individuals and organisations to make simple payments that were made available to the recipient in near real-time, 24/7/365, and with far richer remittance data.
In 2021 the platform facilitated almost one billion real-time transactions, the simple, real-time nature of which resulted in user cost savings of US$205 million and helped unlock almost US$1 billion of additional economic output (equal to 0.06% of Australia’s GDP). By 2026 those figures are expected to rise to 2.4 billion transactions, US$628 million in savings and US$1.4 billion in economic output.
Australia was far from the first to employ a universal real-time payment platform, lagging years behind other developed countries, particularly in Western Europe. And this fact, combined with the overwhelmingly successful rollout of the NPP, makes New Zealand’s situation all the more surprising.
Real-time payments in New Zealand
Despite electronic payments constituting 59% of total payment volume in 2021, New Zealand still lacks a formal real-time payment scheme. The wheels, however, are beginning to turn.
In 2020, Payments NZ, a governance organisation at the heart of New Zealand’s payments system, released a discussion document that it called the Payments Modernisation Plan. It outlined real-time payments as a cornerstone of any future payment system and laid the groundwork for a strategic roadmap to develop such a system.
The upshot is that a New Zealand real-time payments platform is on its way, most likely in the next few years, although exactly when it will arrive and what it will look like is yet to be determined.
4 more ANZ payment trends for 2023
In truth Australia and New Zealand share more commonalities than differences in their financial systems. Beyond the game of catch-up that New Zealand is currently playing in real-time payments, there are a number of other exciting trends and developments that will shape the future of payments in the region.
Mobile wallet capabilities
Granted, some mobile wallet capabilities demand the presence of underlying real-time payment systems, but others don’t. Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay were pioneers in the mobile wallet space, but as India in particular has shown in recent years, the judicious use of public funds can incentivise a wealth of organisations, from financial institutions to small start-ups, to innovate in the space.
The continued evolution of BNPL
The growth of Buy Now Pay Later services isn’t expected to slow any time soon. In fact, between now and 2030 the industry is expected to register an incredible compound annual growth rate of 26%. More and more services are entering the market, and they will have to find competitive advantage through innovation if they are to succeed.
In a retail setting, one in 10 sales are lost because the item is out of stock. The joy of shopping online is that you are granted access to a retailer’s entire inventory. You’re far more likely to find your preferred colour, style or size online than you are if you visit an individual store… unless that store has ‘endless’ aisles.
Endless aisle technology injects the convenience and choice of ecommerce shopping into a brick and mortar store, by allowing customers to browse a brand’s entire range via an in-store terminal (usually an iPad) if what they’re after can’t be found on the shelf. This purchase can be made in a few clicks, and the goods can either be transferred from store to store, warehouse to store, or sent direct to the customer’s address.
As electronic payments increase, and the purchases they facilitate become increasingly data rich, there is a unique opportunity for businesses to use this information to craft hyper-personalised buying experiences. When a customer pays for an item it shows they want it and see the value in it. Where they make the purchase – online or in-store – and the method with which they pay – cash, card, mobile wallet, BNPL – add more data points that can lead to personalisation insights, which can be used to encourage future sales.
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