Media Releases

  • Towards a Digital Economy

    A new report released as part of an industry action plan to manage the decline of cheques



    30 April 2013 

    Cheques continue to decline: APCA releases progress report on transition of Australian payments to the digital economy

    The Australian Payments Clearing Association, the payments industry self-regulatory body, released today the first in a series of planned reports on transition of Australian payments to the digital economy as part of an industry action plan to manage the decline of cheques.

    Today’s report entitled “Towards the Digital Economy: Milestones Report” shows that cheque use in Australia continues to decline rapidly. Figures from the Reserve Bank of Australia show that for the year to 31 December 2012, cheque use dropped 12.5% – down from 256 million to 224 million. Over the past decade, cheque use has dropped by 66%. This decline is consistent with international trends.

    APCA CEO Chris Hamilton said “Assuming current trends continue, by 2018 cheques are likely to be a rarity. Our report is about making sure no Australians are left behind when that happens.”

    Today’s report reviews progress against the action plan released by APCA in May 2012(1) to ensure businesses and consumers that still rely on cheques are able to switch to electronic payments as cheques become scarcer and inevitably more difficult to use.

    The Report highlights initiatives and actions being undertaken by financial institutions, government and other stakeholders to provide alternatives to cheques and improve access to the digital economy including:

    • roll-out of the National Broadband Network and associated education programmes
    • implementation of a nationwide electronic and property settlement system through
    • National E-Conveyancing Development Limited
    • industry development of new real-time payments infrastructure
    • education programmes to promote online banking and use of mobile phones for payments
    • review of legislation that refers specifically to payment by cheque or cash only.

    “We have consulted publicly on cheques and there has been significant effort to engage government and other stakeholders on managing cheque decline. Today’s report shows good progress in implementing the resulting Recommendations and Commitments,” said Mr Hamilton.

    “Towards the Digital Economy: Milestones Report” is available at APCA plans to release the next milestones report around the end of 2013. 



    Ida Turner, APCA Communications 

    Tel. (02) 9216 4817
    Mobile: 0409 716 556 


    (1) “The Decline of Cheques: Building a Bridge to the Digital Economy” is available at

    Australian Payments Clearing Association Limited ABN 12 055 136 519
    Level 6, 14 Martin Place, Sydney NSW 2000 Telephone +61 2 9221 8944 Facsimile +61 2 9221 8057

  • Real-Time Payments

    The PSB welcomes the Committee's proposal for developing new infrastructure for fast, data rich payments.




    New real-time payment services for Australia

    The Real-Time Payments Committee is pleased that the Payments System Board has welcomed the Committee’s proposal for developing next generation real-time payments infrastructure in Australia.

    The Committee comprises seven leading financial institutions, supported by the Australian Payments Clearing Association(1).

    The new infrastructure will enable fast, data-enriched and simply addressed payments services for Australian businesses and consumers. This complies with the Payments System Board’s strategic objectives relating to real-time payments, released in June 2012.

    The Committee Chair Dr Jennifer Fagg said, “The Payments System Board’s support of the proposal is a testimony to the industry’s collaboration and cooperation, working closely with the Reserve Bank, to improve the Australian Payments System.”

    The business architecture will be layered, comprising:

    • general purpose infrastructure, including a central clearing utility and simpler addressing solution, to be built collaboratively by financial institutions and connecting to real-time settlement at the Reserve Bank; plus
    •  overlay services that can be tailored to particular payment needs, starting with an initial consumer-oriented “convenience” service.

    “Splitting infrastructure and services greatly increases the potential of the system. We can promote efficiency, integrity and broad access through the general purpose infrastructure while seeking to foster competition and future innovation through overlay services,” said Dr Fagg.

    “We are looking forward to a range of real-time payment services developing over time. The bottom line is this would be good for Australian consumers and businesses – giving them more choice in making payments safely,” added Dr Fagg.

    A steering committee, to be formed, will be tasked with the implementation of the new payments system. The industry will be working to have the new infrastructure and initial convenience service available by the end of 2016.

    The Committee’s proposal is available on the APCA website. 


    For further information

    Contact: Ida Turner, APCA Communications P: (02) 9216 4817 M: 0409716556 

    (1) Organisations with representatives on the Committee are ANZ, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, CBA, Citigroup, Cuscal, NAB and Westpac. Further information on the Committee is available at