Have you ever heard of the Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA) before? You should have. If you feel like your mode of paying for goods and services is efficient, effective, and safe, then you have these (some) 100 members to thank. This joint group of people from leading financial institutions (major retailers, banks, credit unions, building societies, etc) are responsible for improving the safety, reliability, equity, convenience, and efficiency of your local payments systems. Here are the payment and clearing systems they've placed for your convenience:
Cash (Australian Dolar [AUD])
This is probably the most universal way of paying for goods and services in the 21st century. Cash payments, also known as CS5, are settled and cleared according to the procedures and regulations of the APCA Australian Cash Distribution Exchange System or ACDES.
Cheques are also known as CS1 and are also cleared and settled according to the regulations of the APCA. This is probably one of the most popular non-cash mode of payment in Australia (and in a lost of other countries). They can be post-dated, and secure in the sense that only the name bearer of the person it's written to can cash out the amount specified in it.
In Australia you can also transfer funds between Australian bank accounts. This is called Direct Entry, also known as CS2. It's also regulated by APCA under the Bulk Electronic Clearing System (BECS). You can use this to route payments for setting up monthly bills, pay salaries, transfer funds to your mate's/children's/parents' bank accounts, and even government payments and tax refunds.
If you've ever used a debit or credit card before, then you're pretty familiar with this. The Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale is an electronic way of transferring funds with the use of payment cards like debit and credit cards at payment terminals, located at points of sale. This includes ATM transactions, and are also known as CS3. Just remember to use with caution. The ease of paying what seems to be "virtual money" can get addicting.
High Value Payments
Also known as CS4, High Value payments are designed to transfer large sums of funds in real-time, with the main systems in Australia being:
- Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication Payment Delivery System (SWIFT PDS)
- Clearing House Electronic Subregister System (CHESS)
- Financial Transactions Recording and Clearance System (FINTRACS)
- Reserve Bank Information and Transfer System (RITS)
And there you have it, the APCA regulated payment systems in the land down under. Which system to you use often? Do you think one of them needs a little bit of work? Let us knwo in the comments!
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