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Westpac A$100m core system rebuild – Apple Pay imminent?

Westpac A$100m core system rebuild – Apple Pay imminent?

(26 February 2019 - Australia) Westpac announced successful deployment of its major infrastructure renewal across its two data centres to replace legacy systems underpinning core services across the groups’ eleven networks. 

In November 2018 the program passed a major milestone when more than 200 apps and systems were migrated into the new core network

“The “core network” housed in Westpac’s two data centres, location undisclosed, is where we run pretty much the entire bank. It’s the spinal cord of the bank’s technology infrastructure, underpinning all the customer experiences such as ATMs, branches, apps like Westpac Live and websites, so if there’s an issue it can affect everything else.”” stated Group Technology Division Program Director Asifa Sherazi. “We got here because of multi-brands, strategic mergers and we’re trying to simplify it and make it as easy as possible to do business. The technology is getting old and there’s been a high rate of tech change, so we’re putting in state of the art infrastructure."

Westpac revealed this week that St George, BankSA and Bank of Melbourne had extended options to select SAV and CHQ within the Google Pay platform, suggesting associated services such as Apple Pay could follow shortly across the group’s multi-brand networks to follow CBA’s recent connection with the service at the end of 2018. CBA customers complained that Apple Pay was rolled out too quickly, omitting eftpos’ CHQ and SAV options. The lack of eftpos cross-functionality reportedly occurred due to a higher priority placed on debit transactions to run on the MasterCard scheme network as opposed to connecting in the Australian developed service using Apple Pay. Retailers that process a higher volume of lower value transactions in preference to cash are favourable to eftpos acceptance because SAV and CHQ payments incur a lower cost of acceptance.

The announcement was made in the wake of Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Governor Philip Lowe reiterating regulators disappointment with slow progress and delays by the majors fully commissioning the New Payments Platform (NPP). Giving evidence to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Governor Lowe said the missed deadlines by banks had “regrettably, slowed the pace of innovation in the overall system, given the substantial network effects that exist in payment systems.” The central bank’s is seeking to maintain sharp pressure on the banks to upgrade older systems so they can plug into the new real time platform.

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