Australia to scrap cheque payments within seven years

No more cheques will be cashed after 2030 as the treasurer signs off on an end date for the paper-based payment.

The decision to phase out cheques before the end of the decade falls under the federal government’s plan to modernise the nation’s payments system.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers says Australia’s regulations have failed to keep pace with trends in finance.

‚ÄúOur policies and regulations predate the development of mobile payments,‚ÄĚ he will tell a banking conference on Wednesday.

Under the modernisation plan, cash is safe ‚Äď for now ‚Äď but ‚Äúcostly means of exchange‚ÄĚ, such as cheques, will no longer be payment options.

Dr Chalmers will say similar economies have already managed to wind down cheques, and that government agencies will lead the way by using new forms of payments.

‚ÄúThis transition will be gradual, co-ordinated and inclusive,‚ÄĚ he will stress.

Dr Chalmers says the use of cheques has fallen 90 per cent in the past 10 years as people opt for cheaper, easier digital transactions.

‚ÄúAll this means is that leaving cheques in the system is an increasingly costly way of servicing a declining fraction of payments,‚ÄĚ he will say.

The government also plans to help industry switch from the ‚Äúclunky, inefficient and cumbersome‚ÄĚ Bulk Electronic Clearing System ‚Äď commonly used by businesses for payroll ‚Äď to the New Payments Platform.

The government will support continued access to cash and is considering the findings of a parliamentary inquiry into bank branch closures in regional areas.

Under the five-point plan, the government will also bolster the nation’s resilience to scams and cybersecurity threats, and update Australia’s payments legislation.

The government also wants a new licensing framework for the industry and will consider piloting a central bank digital currency.

 

Poppy Johnston
(Australian Associated Press)

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