NZ rolls out seven-day-a-week payments

Payments NZ 7 days

Kiwis are now able to make same-day electronic payments and transfers on weekends and public holidays following the launch of a 365-day payments capability led by Payments NZ.  

As of 26 May, customers from ANZ, ASB, Bank of China, BNZ, Citi, HSBC, ICBC, Kiwibank, TSB and Westpac (all members of the Bulk Electronic Clearing System, or BECS) can now execute same-day payments – including direct credit transactions, direct debits, automatic payments, and bill payments, which BECS oversees – every day of the year.

Consumers and businesses “no longer need to wait for a traditional business day” to execute a payment, said Payments NZ chief executive Steve Wiggins. Prior to the introduction of the capability, “banks could only send and settle payment transactions on business days”, he said.

Consumers, notably, will also be able to send and receive electronic payments to and from their bank account to an account at a different bank on any day.

Wiggins noted the significant benefits for businesses of the new payments regime, particularly in improving cash flow.

“For New Zealanders, things like buying or selling through platforms like TradeMe [an auctions and classifieds site] could be easier, as electronic payments made between participating banks will now go through on the same day,” says Wiggins.

“We could also see improved cashflow for small-to-medium businesses over weekends and public holidays. In a highly connected, always-on world, we know people will appreciate the option to be able to pay or get paid any day of the year – and now they can.

BNZ, a participant in the scheme, said it will process payments between New Zealand banks every half hour between 9:00 am and 11:45 pm each day of the week.

The upgrade to 365 payments affects primarily retail payments, with high-value transactions, including house-purchase settlements, continuing to operate under the existing ‘five business days’ clearing and settlements system.

While the rollout of ‘365-day payments’ currently excludes a real-time payments capability, Payments NZ noted that it is – as part of its payments modernisation plan – working “to build out a detailed understanding of real-time capability and how it might fit into our long-term strategic roadmap”.

Payments NZ is engaging with the industry on the strategic development of real-time payments capability, with a ‘high-level design’ for the capability set to be ready by August this year.