How AP+ is set to keep Australia a payments innovator

- By Collaborative Media & Publishing
Australia has always been at the forefront of payments innovation, whether making card payments easier at the cash register in the 80s with eftpos, bill payments simpler in the 90s with BPAY, or real-time payments on the New Payments Platform standard today.

But the solutions have rarely formed part of a cohesive strategy – until now.

Former EY Oceania executive Lynn Kraus has been tasked with leading Australian Payments Plus (AP+), which brings together BPAY, eftpos and NPPA.

“It's rare that you get an opportunity to bring together three really interesting organisations that have all had different tenures and legacies,” Kraus says.

Kraus, who was most recently the leader of EY Oceania’s Management Consulting practice and a Transaction and Strategy Partner, has her own personal experience with entrepreneurship and payments acceptance as a small business owner after she launched a reformer Pilates studio during lockdown.

“Pilates became a passion of mine during COVID and I've enjoyed creating a sense of community, wellbeing and health and developing new skills as a small business owner.”

Her AP+ leadership team is currently in the throes of setting AP+’s strategy and culture, which will underpin an innovative payments ecosystem that can compete with global card and tech players.

“I think one of the things we want to do is really understand our relevance to not just our members, but to everyday Australian consumers and businesses. The way we want to set our strategy is to put ourselves 10 years into the future. What does the world look like? How do people spend and pay? What's that experience like?”

Greater collaboration to improve services

While it’s largely been business as usual for BPAY, eftpos and NPPA, moves are afoot to bring the people, legal, finance and risk functions together as a shared service. Collaboration across similar projects, which also ends potential duplication of services, is also improving.

“There are projects already underway which are allowing us to bring teams together across the organisations and collaborate in a way that wasn’t possible before,” Kraus says. “We couldn't have done this previously because we had different businesses, but now we can look at those hybrid pieces of work where we think we've got good insights from different starting positions and frames of reference.”

This includes potentially combining the digital identity services that were being developed separately by BPAY Group and eftpos, and developing them into a “best of both” solution. It is an area of growing demand and competition with global players such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Mastercard already active in digital id.

AP+ is also exploring how real-time payment service Osko (the first overlay service built on the NPP by BPAY) and NPP’s services will interact. Other focus areas include the interoperability of QR Codes across the AP+ payment rails and harmonising the different approaches to APIs.

“The merger isn’t a cost takeout play – it's about creating a long-term technology and investment roadmap that's going to be efficient and set us up for long term success.”

Creating a strong culture

Kraus has over 25 years’ experience in finance and consulting. She believes culture is key to making any merger work.

“I do absolutely want to make sure that we are foremost a purpose driven organisation and I feel that already from our people. Culture has got to be at the heart of what we do – empowerment of our people to own and contribute to the strategy we’re developing,” she says.

“The three organisations have each got rich histories and done amazing things. What we want to do is build on that so I keep using the word and not or – trying to get people to think less what they're giving up and more about what they're gaining.”

AP+ officially launched on February 9 and the three underlying operating companies have moved into one location at 255 George St (formerly occupied by BPAY Group), which has been refurbished and a third floor added.

Working from home has become the new standard but it can also present challenges when bringing people together for the first time. AP+ now employs about 350 people.

“I don't want to ask people to come back to the office to then sit on a Teams or Zoom call,” she says. “We’re finding opportunities for people to come together and collaborate and create some excitement about our new home.”

Diversity and entrepreneurship

Kraus also understand the benefits that diversity can bring to an organisation. She is a passionate member of Chief Executive Women, which helps to remove barriers to women’s career progression. At EY she was the executive sponsor of EY’s LGBTIQ affinity group as well as the executive sponsor for EY’s Indigenous sector practice.

“Innovation cannot come from uniformity,” she says.

“It's an easy thing to be a diverse organisation in terms of who we are, the skills that we have, the backgrounds that we come from, our education, and our ways of working. It's a harder task to be an inclusive organisation that helps people belong and that is something I've spent most of my career being a very big supporter and sponsor of. I believe in diversity in all of its forms, whether that's gender, LGBTIQ, Indigenous, and other areas as well.”

She is also a National Ambassador for Heads over Heels, which supports women entrepreneurs by opening up business networks.

Published by BPAY Pty Ltd (ABN 69 079 137 518) email: marketing@bpay.com.au. The BPAY Scheme is managed by BPAY Pty Limited.  When you use BPAY payment products, the BPAY Scheme is paid fees relating to processing costs and BPAY Scheme membership.  Contact your financial institution to see if it offers BPAY payment products and to get the Product Disclosure Statement.  Any financial product advice provided by BPAY Pty Limited in relation to BPAY payment products is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.  Before acting on such advice, you should review the Product Disclosure.
 

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