Australian Payments Clearing Association

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Australian Payments Clearing Association
Industry Banking, Regulation
Founded February 18, 1992 (1992-02-18)
Headquarters Sydney, Australia
Key people
Chris Hamilton, CEO
Robert Craig, Chair

The Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA) is the self-regulatory body set up by the payments industry to improve the safety, reliability, equity, convenience and efficiency of the Australian payments system. APCA administers a number of payments systems within Australia.[1] APCA currently has some 100 members comprising leading Australian financial institutions including banks, building societies and credit unions, major retailers and other key service providers involved in the Australian payment system.[2][3] APCA was established on 18 February 1992.

APCA sets, manages and develops regulations, procedures and standards governing payments clearing and settlement within Australia. Payments systems covered by APCA's rules include cheques, direct debits and credits, aspects of ATM and EFTPOS transactions, high value payments and the distribution of wholesale cash.

APCA’s role includes strategic direction and regulatory policy for the Australian payments system. APCA provides a venue for industry collaboration on these issues and works closely with government, regulators, payments stakeholders and individuals to improve the payments system.

APCA is also the official issuer and custodian of Bank State Branch (BSB) numbers in Australia. APCA assigns the bank code to a financial institution who then allocates the other digits, in line with guidelines set by APCA.


"APCA exists to advance the common interest of its members and the interests of the Australian public in improving the Australian payments system."[4]

APCA does this through:

  • enabling competition and innovation;
  • promoting efficiency; and
  • controlling risk

APCA’s roles include providing:

  • thought leadership and advocacy;
  • industry collaboration;
  • self-regulation; and
  • system-wide standards.


APCA was established on 18 February 1992 as a self-regulatory industry body charged with carrying forward the process of payments reform. In its early years, APCA focused on re-grouping payment services into distinct clearing systems and developing and managing rules and procedures for their day-to-day operation. In its next phase, APCA took responsibility for managing projects and for contingency planning, certification and accreditation. These kinds of activities remain core business for APCA.

APCA took over the regulation and management of the BSB system, which had been in operation since the 1970s. In 2012, APCA celebrated its 20th anniversary as the payments industry’s self-regulatory body.[1]

On 1 January 2014, APCA adopted a new Constitution designed to recognise the growing diversity of interests in payments arising from structural and technological change and to provide a more inclusive and representative association of the Australian payments system.[5] The new Constitution has opened APCA membership to participants and operators of non-APCA payment systems.


APCA has been publishing cheque and card fraud statistics since November 2006 as part of the payment industry’s commitment to counter payments fraud and to help the public in understanding payments fraud issues The payment fraud figures for 2013 show that Australian card fraud is increasing as part of a global trend, but that detection and prevention measures employed by the industry are showing promising results in keeping fraud levels down.


In 2011, APCA began a public consultation period to gain feedback on the future role of cheques in Australia.[6] In May 2012 APCA released the final report from its consultation entitled "The Decline of Cheques: Building a Bridge to the Digital Economy".[7] The report summarises the outcomes of the consultation process and includes a series of Recommendation and Commitments to ensure those that still rely on cheques today are able to switch to electronic payments as cheques become scarcer and more difficult to use. APCA regularly releases Milestones Reports, to track progress against the Recommendations and Commitments. One recent report, released in August 2014, featured a special focus on cash use.[8] The latest Report, was released in March 2015.[9]

In July 2013, APCA announced a new industry-wide program to develop a New Payments Platform (NPP) for Australia.


  1. ^ a b (23 February 2012). APCA marks 20 years of improving Australian payments. APCA media release]
  2. ^ APCA Members. APCA. Retrieved on 26 December 2012.
  3. ^ APCA Membership. Retrieved 8 July 2013
  4. ^ APCA Purpose and Role. Retrieved 8 July 2013
  5. ^ Introducing the New APCA. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Should cheques be abolished?". SeniorAu. 11 June 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2012. 
  7. ^ The Decline of Cheques - Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  8. ^ Towards the Digital Economy - Milestones Special Edition Report: Focus on Cash. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  9. ^ Towards the Digital Economy - Milestones Fourth Report. Retrieved 9 March 2015.

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