Since the advent of online banking, the finance world has been looking for a better way to communicate with one another, in order to make real time payments from one bank to another. Services such as Beem It and Finch are in use, but the latest platform having a big impact is Osko.
Osko is an ‘overlay service’ built on Australia’s New Payments Platform (NPP) infrastructure to transfer payments in real-time between Australian individuals and businesses, using a PayID-registered phone number or email address to transfer funds within Australia. (It can’t be used to make international payments – transferring money internationally will still have to use their own bank’s SWIFT payment systems or platforms like Payoneer and Transferwise.)
It operates within the participating bank’s own security systems and is therefore protected by their security standards. Additionally, because you can use your phone number instead of your BSB and account number, it offers that little bit more protection. Elizabeth Barry’s May 2019 review of Osko also notes that “All real-time payments will also be subjected to fraud screening and detection capabilities by participating banks.”
Osko was created by BPAY (already used for paying bills). It works using your existing banking app and is designed for fast, real-time, person-to-person payments, transferring funds in less than a minute, every single day of the year. Since its launch in February 2018, over 60 financial institutions have adopted Osko, including the big four – Westpac, CBA, NAB and ANZ.
With Osko, you can send payments or, crucially if you run a small personal business, request them – and because the comment field accommodates 250 characters (rather than the current 18 on most banking apps) both sender and receiver can provide more useful information about the purpose of the funds. You can even use emojis with Osko, so you can send a cheeky thumbs up (or a judgemental horrified face) when settling your bill.
Another change is that, unlike the old ‘Pay Anyone’ option in your banking app which was sent off without notification of receipt, Osko will let you know that the payment has gone through.
The Financial Review notes that the governing NPP body, NPP Australia, is looking ahead with the hopes Osko will “facilitate real-time funding, new payments wallets, short-term lending, ‘buy-now, pay-later’ offerings, the domestic legs of international remittance and new QR Code driven products. It may also be used to enable payroll payments, move data, and conduct payments using distributed ledger or blockchain technology.”
BPAY Group’s CEO John Banfield reported to Choice in 2017 that once the platform is widely adopted, he confidently expects Osko to replace both Pay Anyone and that persistent 19th century technology, the chequebook. In short, Osko is expected to dominate the field of digital personal banking and finance.
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