The National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and ANZ, which make up Australia's "Big Four" banks and an additional eight financial institutions have announced their intention to build a new payments network that will enable real time payments. The network is to be built by Belgium based company SWIFT who today signed a 12 year contract to build and operate the infrastructure.
Speaking at an event for the launch of the New Payments Platform, ANZ Australia CEO Philip Chronican made a passing comment in regards to Bitcoin, saying:
"..the same with Bitcoin, I think it's got some issues today but who's to say that the next cryptocurrency doesn't have some additional features that makes it more compelling."
This is not the first time Australian banks have attempted to build a real time payments network. In 2011, Me and My Bank Online, otherwise known as MAMBO, was cancelled despite four years of planning due to the ANZ and NAB withdrawing their support for the project.
While the NPP currently has the support of 12 financial institutions, it previously held 17. This month Bank of Queensland, HSBC, PayPal, Suncorp and Bank of America Merril Lynch all withdrew their support for the new payment network.