Kiwibank has recruited US-based payments SaaS developer ACI Worldwide to provide and run its Azure cloud-based ‘Payment Hub’, with the bank moving to expedite a real-time payments capability.
Hailing it a “landmark” agreement, the state-owned Kiwibank said the adoption of ACI’s cloud-native payment solution would enable it to deliver “any service [it] requires” on a secure cloud-based platform.
Kiwibank chief product and strategy officer Elliot Smith said the partnership would support the bank’s “long-term strategies for efficiently dealing with future payment needs”.
“It gives Kiwibank access to some of the biggest technical resources in the world and will lower the cost of operating multiple – and growing – payments services, such as related back-office functions and any overlapping IT infrastructures”.
“By utilising ACI’s technology, and cloud partner, Microsoft Azure, Kiwibank will be able to bring new products and services to market faster, add new payment types quickly and cost-effectively to its existing core infrastructure, and rapidly scale to meet customer demands,” Smith added.
Unlike Australia, which supports real-time payments through the New Payments Platform (NPP), New Zealand lacks such a dedicated consumer fast payments rail.
The adoption of real-time payments infrastructure in New Zealand has been decidedly scattergun, with industry body, Payments NZ, currently developing a strategic roadmap – as part of its Payments Direction – for a more cohesive adoption of real-time payments across the banking industry.
Smith acknowledged the considerable benefits of real-time payments for businesses (made available through the ACI partnership), noting opportunities for “enhanced cash flow management and improved liquidity”.
“This improvement will be especially impactful to small merchants that may be used to waiting days for their settlement,” he said.
Kiwibank’s deployment of the ACI’s SaaS solution comes as the industry prepares for the impending adoption of the SBI365 initiative to enforce the sending and receipt of payment electronically for every day of the year.
Smith also acknowledged increasing consumer demand for instant services.
“Due to rapid technological change, many consumers now expect almost everything to be available instantly and the payments system is no exception.
“The nature of cloud technology means we’ll be able to do things faster and more efficiently, and we’ll be able to deliver those simple and seamless experiences customers now demand.”
Big four bank, Westpac NZ, has also adopted ACI’s solution to support real-time payments.