New ePayments Code finally out of transition

The voluntary code makes participating electronic payment providers such as banks follow a list of rules that will provide more protection for consumers, including developing a regime to deal with mistaken internet payments.
Written by Spandas Lui, Contributor

After an 18-month transition period, the new ePayments Code is now officially in place, giving Australian consumers more clout when dealing with electronic payment providers that have adopted the code.

Monitored by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the voluntary code stipulates how providers of electronic payment facilities to consumers, such as banks and credit unions, should behave. The code, previously known as the Electronic Funds Transfer Code, covers payments such as ATM, EFTPOS, credit card transactions, online payments, internet and mobile banking, as well as BPAY.

It requires those that have adopted the code to adhere to a number of rules, including providing terms and conditions information such as fee increases to consumers, set out rules for who pays for unauthorised transactions, and to set up a system to recover mistaken internet payments.

"The code is an important tool in the regulation of electronic payment products in Australia," ASIC commissioner Peter Kell said in a statement. "We will continue to push those who offer consumer electronic payment products to subscribe to the code."

The big four major banks have subscribed to the code, along with PayPal, Citigroup, and a number of other electronic payment providers.

PayPal Australia managing director Jeff Clementz said that the code takes into account new payment technology developments, such as eWallets.

"The new ePayments code is a dynamic code which acknowledges these technology advancements and demonstrates ASIC's commitment to protecting consumers," he said in a statement.

If the code is breached, consumers can complain to the payment provider directly, but can take it to the Financial Ombudsman Service or Credit Ombudsman Service if they are not satisfied with the response.

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