We’ve been busy progressing our API standards initiative since our last company update in December. While this has been a key focus for us in the past few months, we’ve also been making good headway with a range of other initiatives. You can find out more about this work below.

Payments Direction update

The completion of our industry pilot and the approaching launch of our new API standards service in May, is a significant milestone for the industry. It’s the result of months of contribution and commitment from the industry. Overall, our working groups put in hundreds of hours of meeting time and thousands of individual hours collectively across the workstream. We’ve also held workshops and feedback sessions to engage with wider stakeholders and ensure what we were developing aligned with local market needs.

This upcoming service (which we'll announce the name of at the launch event) is an important part of bringing the new API standards ecosystem to life. Together with the industry, we have put a lot of thought and consideration into its final design and operating framework.

The establishment of this service is the result of our work around developing a supporting management framework to govern how people can access, use and contribute to the standards once they were released. The industry and the ecosystem have had direct input into the shape of this service from day one.

The service will play a key role in the maintenance of common standards for the New Zealand payments ecosystem. It will provide a vehicle to establish and progress an industry API strategy. And importantly, it will also ensure the development of APIs continue to be closely aligned with market needs through continuing to have broad involvement and inclusive feedback processes.

While the API workstream has taken up a lot of our attention in the past few months, the work hasn’t stopped in other areas. We continue to make progress with other Payments Direction workstreams, which are in various stages of technical and strategic planning. Find out more about these workstreams and what they’re currently focused on in our Payments Direction journal.

We’ve also just released our annual payment statistics which offered some interesting insights into how Kiwis made payments in 2018. And we’re getting ready to conduct a major review into the evolving future of payments for our new Payments 2030 report. We’ll be able to tell you more about this report in our next company update.

Management Committees update

Our Management Committees continue to focus on enabling the interoperability and efficiency of the four clearing systems we manage: Bulk Electronic (BECS), Consumer Electronic (CECS), High Value (HVCS) and Paper (PCS).

BECS, the governance body for our Bulk Electronic Clearing System, is investigating the requirements for enabling a range of bulk electronic payments (e.g. direct credit, bill payments) to be made over weekends and during public holidays. This assessment, which falls under the SBI365 workstream, is due to be completed in May. BECS is also implementing procedures that will make our registers, for example the bank and branch register, simpler to use and update.

We’re also pleased to announce BECS recently welcomed China Construction Bank into the system under its partnership with ANZ. China Construction Bank is the first agency bank in New Zealand to join the payment system with their own interchange number, contributing towards our goal of even greater interoperability.

Meanwhile, HVCS is undertaking a review of the access requirements for its low volume Participants to ensure they remain in step with technological pace. The CECS committee continue to look at opportunities to enhance the resiliency of New Zealand’s point-of-sale network in the event of a major natural disaster.

PCS is currently investigating how we can further educate Participants and Members around how the way people make payments is changing and evolving.

Our Management Committees look forward to seeing the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s (RBNZ) draft legislation regarding the designation of Financial Market Infrastructures. Once that has been released, they’ll then engage in a consultation process with the RBNZ.

Risk and compliance update

Risk and compliance are important considerations for us. A significant feature of our work in this area is the new annual compliance statement to be completed by Participants. We’ve now received the first round of these statements back, and are following up some action points.

These statements are an important part of monitoring risk to the industry and ensuring that controls are appropriately managed. They help to focus on the need for adherence to key matters under our rules, and detail the ongoing obligations that arise in relation to testing and resilience.

Making connections

We recently hosted chief executives and senior colleagues from six international payments associations in New Zealand. It was invaluable to catch up with these influential global counterparts and discuss high level strategy for the most current issues affecting the payments industry worldwide. At the conference, we delved into topics such as real-time payments, clearing and settlement, ISO20022, fraud and cyber security and also common APIs, consumer data rights, digital ID, fraud and payments association challenges.

It was fantastic hosting representatives from so many different countries including Australia, Canada, South Africa, the Netherlands and the US. Overall around a dozen international colleagues made the trip to New Zealand, and we were pleased to be able to showcase some genuine Kiwi hospitality.

Another conference we attended was the third annual Global Digital Banking conference hosted by RFi in Auckland. Our API initiative project manager Phillip Cass was part of a panel that focused on open banking opportunities at this conference. The panel discussed key insights from jurisdictions who have undertaken various forms of open banking, contrasting what these countries have done with New Zealand’s own approach of standardising APIs.

Looking ahead to the next few months, we’re obviously looking forward to our special edition of The Hub in Auckland on 23 May where we’ll be launching the new API standards service and announcing its name. Invitations for this event will go out to our mailing list subscribers soon. We’re also currently looking at potential dates for our next The Link event for women who work in payments.