SYDNEY - Australia will phase out cheques by 2030 as part of a broader overhaul of its payments system designed to capitalise on digitisation to improve efficiency and regulation, Treasurer Jim Chalmers will say on Wednesday.
Payments infrastructure and the regulatory framework have not kept pace with transitions in finance, particularly in the digital economy and payments, Chalmers will tell a banking conference, according to extracts of speech seen by Reuters.
"Our plan for payments is about a lot more than triaging the problems we face now or playing catch-up and patch-up," Chalmers will say, noting that current policies and regulations pre-date mobile payments.
The government is consulting on plans to update the Reserve Bank of Australia's mandate to cover all participants in the payments system, including digital wallets, and on a new payments licensing system that would apply regulation based on the risk an entity poses to consumers and the financial system.
One of the more visible steps in modernising payments infrastructure will be phasing out cheques, while also supporting the shift from existing clearing systems to the faster New Payments Platform.
The volume of cheque usage in Australia had declined by 90% over the last 10 years, and almost every transaction still done by cheque could be done through internet or mobile banking, Chalmers will say.
"Today, we're signalling an intention to wind down the cheque system by no later than 2030, leading the way, by moving Commonwealth government departments to new forms of payments by 2028," Chalmers will say, according the speech notes.
(Reporting by John Mair; Editing by Gerry Doyle)