Australia orders regulatory review of payments network

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia ordered the first regulatory review of its payments systems in over two decades on Wednesday, as it tries to ensure its regime supports innovation amid rapid changes in technology.

The review, which includes assessing government payment systems, will be completed by April 2021 to ensure the framework remains internationally competitive, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in a statement.

“It is critical that the regulatory architecture supporting our payments system promotes innovation and competition to ensure that costs to business are minimised, consumer experience is enhanced and there is confidence in the security of the system,” Frydenberg said.

The use of contactless and other alternative payment methods have increased due to COVID-19, and the review will seek input from the private sector as well as consumer and privacy advocates to ensure the system remains “fit for purpose”, he added.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), which oversees the payments system and is responsible for promoting its safety and efficiency, did not immediately return a request for comment.

Reporting by Paulina Duran in Sydney; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore