A troubled project by payment company BPAY, which could remove the need for account numbers to be ported between banks, is on track and about ready for a "big" announcement, according to the company.
Project MAMBO (Me And My Bank Online) kick-started in 2007 and, according to reports, will allow customers to obtain BPAY codes for online payments. It is funded and backed by Australian banks that use BPAY services.
The low-profile project has been mired in speculation it would be scrapped: it stalled for 12 months last year, then was reborn after the Reserve Bank put the banks under pressure to improve online payment services.
BPAY chief executive Andrew Arnott said that the company will complete a "significant" part of the project within months.
"We are at a complicated stage of the project and not too far from an announcement," Arnott said.
"It will be big."
Arnott would not be drawn further on the progress of the project, which BPAY says is commercially sensitive, but brushed-off concerns that the service could raise privacy concerns for users.
"It will provide a range of great services that help consumers and government," he said.
Shareholder documents on the project do not provide details, but discuss a modular and flexible service that "expands customer choice and avoids the creation of monopolies".
Commonwealth Bank executive general manager Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said that BPAY codes will be available to all the banks, creating a single online payment identity which can be transferred if a customer switches financial institution.
Banking Review recently reported that staff from member banks have been pulled from other projects to work on MAMBO.