28 Feb Offline Payments
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited
ANZ Worldline Payment Solutions *
Thales DIS France SAS
Southern Cross University
Communities, and SMEs
CBDCs could address situations where online connectivity is absent. This includes major outages, communities that lack the means to connect online or those who are unbanked.
The project team is developing a solution for SCU and RMIT University to trial offline CBDC payments via smart cards that can be loaded with funds. Consecutive offline payments will be supported in a consumer–to–merchant scenario, with the aim of showing CBDC retains cash-like accessibility, convenience and inclusivity for offline users.
- More private, digital form of cash.
- Financial accessibility in a modern digital economy.
- Instantaneous, final settlements.
CBDCs can enable instant value transfer between users. If they can also provide reliable, efficient and secure offline means of payment, they could enhance financial inclusion and accessibility to modernising digital services.
As the world experiences a significant shift to digital retail transactions, fewer merchants are choosing to accept cash at point of sale. However, the accessibility and convenience of cash still remains important for many communities, including those without access to traditional banking services and those impacted by outages and emergencies. A CBDC could help address this gap by providing a digital form of cash.
This pilot aims to show that using blockchain technology and NFC-enabled smart cards, CBDC could enable users to make instant payments on a peer-to-peer basis, even in an offline environment that is not connected to existing banking infrastructure.
Therefore, CBDC could act like physical cash in digital form, bringing considerable cost, speed, administrative and security improvements. In the future, CBDCs may be scaled to integrate programmable currency for automation, enabling innovative payment schemes for specific communities or individuals.
The pilot was conducted on campus at Southern Cross University and RMIT University. As part of the pilot, NFC-enabled smart cards pre-loaded with pilot CBDC were be given to participating students.
The pilot demonstrated how an organisation like a university can step in and provide immediate financial support through the disbursement of CBDC in emergency situations, such as where students are unable to access funds online or traditional banking services.
The pilot involved several steps. First, the universities operated a secure smartphone app to view their pilot CBDC balance. Using NFC functionality, specific amounts of pilot CBDC were loaded onto the smart cards.
Second, the smart cards were given to participating students, who used them to make purchases at on-campus merchants, such as cafes, gyms and book shops.
Third, merchants had a secure smartphone app to accept the students’ card payments at point of sale, where pilot CBDC payments were transferred in an offline scenario. These consumer-to-merchant payments function as cash sales. Multiple offline transactions occurred to evaluate consecutive offline payments in the solution.
Finally, merchants will use their app to view the CBDC they have received and can select to redeem their CBDC balance into fiat currency, which will be transferred to their bank accounts.
Southern Cross University and RMIT University, along with members of the project team, will conduct research into the implications of the solution, including scalability assessments for more sensitive use cases such as payments to communities affected by emergencies or government-sponsored payment schemes for communities in need. However, these other use cases will only be explored from a research perspective and will not be trialled in this pilot.
ANZ Worldline Payment Solutions means Worldline Australia Pty Ltd ACN 645 073 034 (“Worldline”), a provider of merchant solutions. Worldline is not an authorised deposit taking institution (ADI) and entry into any agreement with Worldline is neither a deposit nor liability of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited ACN 005 357 522 (“ANZ”) or any of its related bodies corporate (together “ANZ Group”). Neither ANZ nor any other member of the ANZ Group stands behind or guarantees Worldline.