What is Payments Direction?

Payments Direction is our cornerstone strategic initiative to understand the evolving future of payments. Through this programme we work collaboratively with the industry to identify what needs to be done to contribute to and prepare for that future.  

Our vision is to ensure New Zealand has the world’s most progressive payments system while making sure payments are simple and secure for Kiwis. Ultimately, we want Kiwis to be able to pay who they want, when they want and how they want. Payments Direction is the strategic initiative that is helping us work towards achieving that vision.

What are we working on?

Our focus this year is to finalise work on our long-term strategic roadmap for the core payments system through to 2030. This work is based on the Payments Modernisation Plan (PMP) discussion document we released in 2020.

The feedback we received from the industry on the PMP reinforced a need to understand what role real time capabilities would play as part of any modernisation plan, given their role as a cornerstone building block. This initial focus on real time aligns with a global trend towards real time payment infrastructures and capabilities and we recently ran a market information gathering exercise to help build out a detailed understanding of real time capability, what that could look like for New Zealand, and how it should fit into our strategic roadmap.

This initial market information gathering exercise closed in early November 2021.


What are we working on next?

We have received a good response to the market information gathering exercise, with insightful information provided by a number of organisations with experience delivering real time payments capabilities around the world. We are in the process of collating the information received from the exercise, a phase that will take us into the early part of 2022.

The information collated will further shape the strategic roadmap we’re developing for modernising New Zealand’s payments system. We’ll keep you updated about this work as it progresses, so if you’re interested in being kept informed, please join our mailing list for news and updates.

What work have we done so far?  

2021 Environmental Scan Report

Each year we undertake an environmental scan to track changes and developments across our strategic areas of focus and to guide decision making. Our latest 2021 Environmental Scan Report builds on the themes identified in our 2020 refresh and considers significant global and local trends that are likely to influence New Zealand’s payments ecosystem. Although the scan confirms our previous themes are still accurate, we’ve noticed that themes have begun to converge with some notable shifts in emphasis.

Payments Modernisation Plan Discussion Document

The PMP is based on five guiding principles that put Kiwis at the heart of everything we do.

The principles that guide our modernisation activities are to:

  • help Kiwis achieve their financial goals
  • improve financial inclusion
  • build a more productive New Zealand
  • improve the financial resilience of Kiwi businesses and consumers
  • support competition and innovation to give Kiwis more choice in payments.

The PMP also identifies a range of capability building blocks that will be required to modernise New Zealand’s payments ecosystem. Each of these building blocks has the potential to address current or emerging limitations in the payments ecosystem and play an important part in delivering a vibrant and dynamic future payments ecosystem.

Once we have completed work to understand what real time payments could look like in a New Zealand context, we’ll be in a position to finalise our strategic roadmap and share it with the industry.

Consumer Research 2020

In 2020 we also conducted consumer research to understand what Kiwis think about New Zealand’s current payments system, how Kiwi consumers are making payments and might expect to pay into the future, and what’s important to them when thinking about the future of payments.

Shared industry API framework
This workstream investigated the establishment of common payments-related API standards and a shared API framework which outlined how organisations can access, use, and contribute to the development of those standards. This workstream has now concluded with the release of version 1.0.0 of our pilot API standards and establishment of our API Centre

365-day service availability 
This workstream is considering an extension to the availability of payment systems to allow payments, for example direct credits or bill payments, to be made and received 365 days of the year.  This workstream has now been completed from a strategic perspective and established as a project in the BECS work programme. To find out more about this work read our SBI365 project information.

Working Group Investigations

In addition to the workstreams above, Payments Direction working groups have also previously considered other key components of a future payments roadmap including:

  • The ability to direct a payment without knowing the recipient’s account number.
  • The sending of richer information with a payment (for more information on work the industry is currently doing in this regard, read the ISO 20022 project information).

Our previous work will also feed into the modernisation plan and inform our future strategic roadmap.

Why are we doing this work? 

The financial services sector and payments industry continues to evolve at a rapid pace. Therefore, it's vitally important for organisations and the industry to stay informed about the developments driving this evolution and ensure they're prepared for the future. This is particularly true for the payments industry, which is highly networked and open to the adoption of new technologies and business models. In this environment, efficiency, safety, innovation, openness and interoperability are fundamental.  

How we work

Payments Direction is an industry-led initiative and the way we work reflects this approach.

Facilitation and collaboration are key features of the Payments Direction programme. As such, we work with our Participants and Members and interested parties, government and regulators across the wider ecosystem who each brings a variety of insights and perspectives to the work we do. 

The Payments NZ Board is responsible for governing the programme and its initiatives. 

Our working groups are comprised of Participant and Member representatives. They are tasked with investigating and progressing this work. Meeting frequently, they undertake detailed analysis and investigations, develop requirements, and produce recommendations for consideration by the industry and Payments NZ Board. 

Want to know more or get involved?

If you work at one of our Participant or Member organisations, it's likely you have colleagues connected to or working directly with this programme. Ask your colleagues about how you can get involved, or contact us.

If you are part of the wider payments ecosystem and want more information or to get involved, please feel free to contact us.  

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