Australian banks hit with payment transfer outage as RBA blames technical error

Reserve bank says system is back up and running on Thursday, and they are working to clear the backlog

The Reserve Bank has said an internal system engineering issue caused a four-hour industry-wide bank payment transfer outage that left customers in the lurch.

The RBA confirmed the issue affected its fast settlement service which provides for the settlement of New Payments Platform (NPP) transactions between banks.

The Osko payment system, which operates on the NPP, was introduced to allow near-immediate online bank transfers around the clock.

Through PayID, it allows users to plug in phone numbers and emails to send money rather than bank details. It is used by more than 85 banks across Australia.

“The system is back up and running, and we are working with the banks to clear the backlog as quickly as possible,” the RBA said.

The bank earlier said on Twitter it had “experienced an internal system engineering issue yesterday evening”.

“The issue has now been contained,” the RBA said. “Impacted external services are now operational however there has been some delay to overnight processing of payments.”

Big banks including ANZ, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac were affected by the fund transfer outage.

Westpac said it was aware of an issue identified by payment platform operators that was affecting all Australian financial institutions.

“Please know that this has since been resolved,” the bank said on Wednesday night.

A Westpac spokesperson said the bank was processing the outstanding transactions, and told customers not to attempt to redo the payment if it is still pending – only if they received a failed message.

ANZ released a similar statement saying it was “experiencing an industry-wide outage” preventing the processing of payments.

The Commonwealth Bank was also affected by the issue with Osko payments.

“Please don’t retry your transaction,” the bank said.

“This is a whopper,” the managing director of consultancy firm Payment Services, Brad Kelly, said, adding it should give the industry pause about the push towards the NPP and away from traditional services like Bpay or direct debit.

“Unfortunately, NPP falls over, you can see what happens – there’s no fallback,” he said. “So that’s what we’re dealing with today.”


Australian Associated Press and Josh Taylor

The GuardianTramp

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