Q&A with Deanne Keetelaar at Australia Post

Australia Post is an iconic brand in Australia not only providing essential postal services but also many payment and financial services. In the 2021 financial year, Australia Post facilitated over 390 million transactions, with a transaction value of $126.4 billion across the portfolio.

Payments Consulting Network Commercial DirectorLiz Beggs, caught up with Deanne KeetelaarGeneral Manager – Identity, Payments & Financial Services, Product & Innovation at Australia Post, to discuss the payments industry and how it relates to businesses across Australia.

LB: Even though we all know Australia Post, can you please provide a high-level overview of Australia Post’s business, with a focus on payments?

DK: Everyone obviously knows Australia Post for delivering parcels and letters, but beyond that, our payment services comprise of three key areas; bill payments via our Post Billpay and digital payments through our SecurePay and POLi businesses, which allow our customers to make and receive payments.

  • Post Billpay which is a prominent bill payment method available on over 1,000 of Australia’s household bills. This is an omni-channel solution with access available online, via the Australia Post App, over the phone or at over 3,500 retail outlets.
  • SecurePay provides a gateway and an all-in-one solution. It has been developed with flexibility and security in mind. It allows businesses to accept credit cards from Visa, MasterCard and American Express, as well as payment via ApplePay, PayPal, Alipay, WeChat Pay and internet banking via POLi. SecurePay integrates smoothly with a range of third-party e-commerce extensions such as WooCommerce, Magento, OpenCart and PrestaShop and can offer customisable checkouts.  SecurePay has enabled over 90,000 small business to make and receive payments online.
  • POLi is Australia’s number one account-to-account (A2A) provider which facilitates real-time payments to over 700 active merchants across Australia and New Zealand. POLi is currently available across 17 Australian banks and 6 New Zealand banks covering the Australian and New Zealand retail banking population. Customers do not have to register to use POLi and the customer experience is unmatched.

LB: What payments services do you offer merchants and not-for-profit organisations in Australia?

DK: For Merchants and not-for-profit organisations, Australia Post offers a variety of options.  We offer a range of products from out-of-the-box solutions for micro-businesses, up to customised solutions for large business and government agencies.  The following products showcase what we have available:

  • Post Billpay offering allows customers to pay their bills from our billing customers (business and government) customers online, over the counter in store, by phone or via the app. 
  • Digital payments online via our SecurePay and POLi brands  
  • Further, our Bank@Post offering provides over-the-counter transactional banking services on behalf of over 80 financial institutions across the nation via our post offices. 
  • For all products, our sales team supports not-for-profit organisations through special pricing.

LB: Does Australia Post focus on any particular industry sectors or client types for your merchant services?

DK: Australia Post services all customer groups including consumers, small businesses, medium to large business and government.

Our payment products are scalable to cover merchants of all sizes, and are designed to cater for both sides of the marketplace, enabling consumers to pay via their preferred channel and payment method and enabling merchants to offer choice and flexibility to their customers.

LB: What do you see as your key strengths? 

DK: With such a long history, Australia Post is a trusted brand with a significant physical footprint. We have varied and multi-faceted relationships with most banking institutions in Australia so are bank/provider agnostic and can therefore leverage our deep relationships to get better results for our customers.

We are also a leader in eCommerce, providing critical logistics services to support the growth in online shopping. This strength, trust and reach positions Australia Post well to play a leading role in payments. By leveraging Australia Post’s unique position in eCommerce, our products can support the end-to-end value chain for merchants selling online.

LB: What do you see as your key differentiators? 

DK: Australia Post is a leading provider of payments and financial services, yet it is not a bank, an underwriter or an acquirer. This creates a unique position for Australia Post to form great relationships with our banks, product and payment partners to bring leading propositions to market that also leverage the strengths of Australia Post assets.

With Post Billpay, we can offer a full omni-channel experience and with our POLi brand, being Australia’s leading A2A provider, we are uniquely positioned to take a leading role in driving the industry direction in the A2A market.

LB: What were your key achievements over the last 12 months in merchant services? 

DK: We have focused on changing customer trends and opened up our digital channels across a number of our products to enable our customers to transact online in a time with lockdowns.

In 2020, we launched Post Billpay for small to medium businesses and we have acquired more than 50 new businesses. We have also continued to roll out our digital channels for our Billers.

Our SecurePay product has launched a number of new features including including ApplePay, 3D-Secure 2.0, AliPay, and WeChatPay.

For POLi, we have seen record growth being primarily driven by particular industries including bitcoin trading and foreign exchange that have thrived during the lockdown period.

LB: What merchant services innovations do you have on your product/service roadmap for the next 12 months? 

DK: SecurePay is planning to launch 3DS2 and Visa Token Service, further shopping cart integrations, new partnerships with industry specific platform partners and additional eCommerce bundles with our parcels business. We recently launched Apple Pay and Dynamic Currency Conversion for our merchants to offer their customers.

POLi is focused on launching new refunds capability and move towards API solutions to position itself strongly for the industry move towards the NPP (New Payments Platform) and Consumer Data Right (CDR). POLi is piloting industry leading bank integration using bank API’s that provides greater security for the transaction, but also provides a frictionless experience for the payer without the need to leave their checkout or application.  

Post Billpay continues to evolve and leverage the new payments capabilities available via SecurePay. We are currently working on delivering a new inapp experience that we believe will provide a strong value proposition for people looking for a differentiated experience to pay their bills.

LB: What industry changes or trends to do you see occurring over the next 2-3 years that will have a major impact on your business and/or your clients?

DK: The lockdowns have permanently shifted the way Australians shop. The rise of online shopping has been positive for Australia Post’s payments business as well as our parcels business as we continued to serve customers.

Omni-channel capability, i.e. a customers’ choice of channel in line with their expectations, will increase in importance. We continue to develop our omni-channel capability, including for example our Post Billpay product which, while being a well-developed over-the-counter offering, also offers digital payments capability via web and mobile applications, and we will be seeking to further evolve that online experience to capture more of the digital bill payments market.

Younger customer segments that prefer to transact online will continue to grow in number. We will always offer an over-the-counter service to our customers as we are not focused on migrating customers from stores to online. What we are focused on however, is opening up our services to new and different customer segments that prefer online channels.

New capability emerging within the industry will of course drive changes in behaviour. For example, the Consumer Data Right will give customers greater access and control over their data, but will also create opportunities for payment innovation.

Similarly, the investment in the NPP will provide new capabilities and the demand for real time payments will continue to grow, especially within the B2B space, but we will also see a shift to offering alternative payments to consumers perhaps via QR code technology.

LB: What key criteria or features should a business consider when evaluating payments service providers?

DK: Making sure your payments service provider meets all of your needs both now and in the future, and that it is a trusted brand and strong company that is here to stay is absolutely critical.

The value in having a single relationship for all payment solutions is high as it can save on cost, admin and other time spent outside of a business’ income generating activities.

Finally, continuity and stability of the services when choosing a provider is also critical.  Similarly, choosing an organisation that is sophisticated at risk management and is well connected in the industry and across industry trends and fraud management developments, cannot be underestimated.

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