A big year for Australia, an even bigger year for payments

By Stephen Benton

The end of the year is almost upon us.

As Australia opens-up for business and travel after many months of health-related restrictions it’s a Good time to pause for reflection.

It has been a big year for Australia and an even bigger year for payments.

But what’s really stood out for me is how both as a nation and an industry people have rallied together despite setbacks and problems, to help us fulfil our purpose to do Good for Australia and Australian business.

We couldn’t have done it without the support of our Members, partners and stakeholders and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank our hardworking and talented people for their efforts over the past 12 months. 

Together you have made these important changes possible.

2021 marked a turning point for eftpos, as the implementation of our strategy accelerated, positioning us to take a pivotal role in the Australian Digital Economy. 2022 looks set to be a bigger year still as we join Australian Payments Plus (AP+) and continue to roll out new payments platforms for digital innovation.

eftpos is evolving to become a leader in the delivery of digital services, beyond payments. 

Over the year, eftpos launched its new brand and expanded into new areas to become the eftpos Group following the acquisition of mobile wallet Beem It, and the formation of a new digital identity solution business, connectID, as a standalone FinTech and fully-owned eftpos subsidiary.

At the same time, eftpos invested in new platforms for innovation and new revenue streams, including more eCommerce capabilities, a new Digital Identity platform, a new QR platform and a new API gateway.

Importantly, eftpos has continued to achieve growth for a second consecutive year, despite difficult market conditions and ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns, enabling significant investment back into the business and strengthening our product offerings for the benefit of all Australians. 

We are set to complete the implementation of our Strategy and Roadmap and have provided capacity for these new areas of focus.

Once this work is complete, we will increasingly focus on the development of new digital capabilities and services above the payments rails. This will allow eftpos to compete more in high value-added services and continue to diversify. 

We are observing an acceleration of industry changes, and we have developed a comprehensive plan to pursue opportunities for growth that are arising. 

Our intent is to maximise the commercialisation of our capabilities and perform targeted incremental investments leveraging the strong platforms we have and will continue to deploy. 

In September 2021, the ACCC authorised the proposed merger of eftpos, BPAY, and NPP Australia under the new Australian Payments Plus (AP+) banner, after accepting a court-enforceable undertaking offered by the parties.  The undertakings ensure that, for a term of four years, eftpos will do everything in its control to promote Least Cost Routing (LCR) and develop and make available a set of Prescribed Services within agreed timeframes, in line with the eftpos Strategy and Roadmap. 

There is strong alignment between AP+ and the eftpos Purpose of doing “Good for Australia” and this alignment will see eftpos continue to drive competition and innovation in debit card payments and digital, while pursuing new opportunities to innovate with other parts of the new AP+ organisation.

In 2021, we made good progress on LCR, with the Treasurer stating that the Morrison Government is committed to lowering costs for small business through the implementation of default LCR in the debit card market. 

The Reserve Bank of Australia also announced in October that Australian banks are expected to offer and promote LCR in online by the end of 2022, which was a good step forward. There is still a lot more work to be done here, but it was pleasing to see some momentum.

Our Purpose to “Do Good for Australia” was also the motivation behind our new charity 
partnership with Beyond Blue. 

This partnership provides access to the Beyond Blue Support Service and aims to raise awareness about the link between financial and mental health, particularly for small businesses and young people.

The partnership comes at a time when many in our community, including young people and small 
business owners, are experiencing financial pressures which we know are closely tied to mental health.

Payments is an area which thrives on persistent innovation, so we greatly look forward to this next exciting chapter in our journey. 

To all of eftpos’ customers, Members and friends, I wish you Merry Christmas, a safe, enjoyable and restful holiday and a happy and prosperous new year.