Operational risk: payment system outage reporting

The Reserve Bank’s Payment System Board’s latest minutes show that the Board has endorsed the Reserve Bank working with the industry and Australian Prudential Regulation Authority on a standard set of operational performance statistics to be disclosed by individual institutions in relation to operational outages in retail payment services.

The requirement to report is in response to an increase in disruptions over the past year which have caused considerable disruption to customers of the authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) in question, as well as to other ADIs and their customers and the risk of reputational damage. The Board emphasises the importance of having reliable retail payment services.

The Board appears to be no longer willing to accept an outage of internet banking, ATMs and Eftpos terminals as a “glitch”.

More detailed reporting will make service levels transparent to customers.

Under current arrangements, members of the Reserve Bank Information and Transfer System (RITS) are only required to report to the Reserve Bank any incidents that have a significant impact on retail payments. The Reserve Bank has defined reportable incidents according to their effect on customers’ access to particular payments channels or account information, the impact on clearing or settlement activity, the use of business continuity arrangements, or media coverage.

RITS members are required to notify the Reserve Bank within one hour of any reportable retail incident, with further updates to be provided at least every two hours for the duration of the incident. In doing so, RITS members are required to provide information on the probable cause, customer impact, systems impacted and recovery strategy, as well as the expected recovery time frame and likely impact on other financial institutions.


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