BPAY API: How Zai’s API can help you settle payments faster

Nov 29 2022
Payments Insights

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If you’ve been looking for a BPAY API to help improve the way you handle payments through this popular payment channel, chances are that:

  • The BPAY APIs available to companies like yours don’t let you directly initiate or accept payments.

  • Your bank doesn’t offer an easy way for you to connect to their BPAY infrastructure, requiring you to send and receive batch files to use the system and spend lots of time reconciling files against payments.

Combined with the long settlement cycles, you’ve likely heard lots of requests from your finance, marketing, and customer service departments to speed up BPAY settlement and improve the overall experience.

This article explains how tech-minded companies like yours can connect directly to the BPAY system via an API, see and reconcile transactions as they happen and build a better user experience and loyalty with your customers.

We’ll cover:

Are you ready to transform the way you use BPAY? At Zai, we have a BPAY API connection that speeds up settlement, makes reconciliation a snap, and lets you see transactions as they happen. Speak to us today to learn how.

How Zai’s BPAY API works

The BPAY Group offers a limited set of APIs on its developer portal for Australian businesses that help make it easier to work with the BPAY system. These APIs enable you to get information about a customer, validate a payment request, generate a customer reference number (CRN), and create a batch file to send to your bank. However, BPAY does not offer payment APIs to the public.

Instead, this functionality stays between participant members like banks, authorised billers, and other financial institutions. If you want to connect to BPAY via API but your bank or financial services provider doesn’t offer one, you’re mostly out of luck, leaving you dependent on the batch file transfer system.

As payment technology experts working closely with a regulated provider and as a BPAY-authorised biller ourselves, we realised that we could help close that gap by building a better BPAY API experience for tech-minded companies. Here’s how our BPAY API works.

We have a direct API connection to our banking provider

We enable our clients to access the BPAY network through our licensed provider and our own authorisations. This connection is entirely via API, which enables us to send and receive BPAY messages through this modern channel instead of via file transfer.

In turn, we extend this functionality to our clients through our API connection points. We effectively wrap and modernise BPAY connectivity for companies that prefer working with APIs to build payment products.

We use webhooks to let you know when your BPAY payment arrives in our ecosystem

We have webhooks that are always listening for transactions coming into our provider’s BPAY ecosystem. Once we receive notification that a payment has been made in your favour, we will post that information to you.

This way, you can immediately know when the funds have left your customer's account instead of waiting for the file transfer a few days later.

We send biller requests and payouts through the same API

We’re registered as a BPAY biller. Combined with our API, you can quickly issue invoices with our BPAY biller code and a CRM (which we can also generate for you). You can also initiate payouts through BPAY from our API.

This feature is handy for enabling your customers to pay for services from your platform, which goes out immediately to the BPAY system instead of waiting for a batch transfer.

If you’re tech-minded and want to see under the hood, check out our BPAY API guides in our reference docs.

How to use Zai's BPAY API

Our customers get access to a fully wrapped BPAY API as well as many other payment features. These are some of our main features:

Connect to all of BPAY’s functionalities via API to improve your UI

Our APIs offer a complete, tech-first solution for collecting and making BPAY payments on your platform. In addition to BPAY’s existing APIs, you can now build integrations into your back end that enable you to add this popular payment option to your front end.

Get one layer deeper into the BPAY ecosystem thanks to our API

While your customers will benefit from being able to transact in BPAY, your finance team will be even more excited since your BPAY activity will happen in a real-time stream.

Before, your finance team would have to wait for the batch file to come through before reconciling. Since this file varies between providers and comes days after the payee initiated the transaction, finance departments will spend a considerable part of their time balancing the books.

With our BPAY API, your reconciliation team will know a payment took place the second it enters our ecosystem. That way, they can record the credit or the debit on the spot, and not days after the fact. Once you receive your final file transfer, you quickly can compare it to our API output to complete your reconciliation process.

Make your UX even better to get your customers transacting faster

Our API can tell you almost immediately when one of your customers has made a payin via BPAY. That way, you can credit their account knowing the funding will enter into your books once the file transfer completes a few days later.

The benefit for you and your customers is twofold. By getting funds into a user’s account faster, they can transact sooner within your ecosystem. If your platform runs on commission or high volumes, that means you’ll generate more revenue at a faster tempo.

We can also post payouts directly to BPAY without waiting for a batch file transfer. If your customers make payouts from their accounts with you, they can see the funds leaving as soon as they press send and tell their counterparty they initiated the transaction.

Regardless of the transaction direction, you’ll see more engagement, quicker revenue-generating transactions, and a better user experience with our BPAY API.

Tap into our other payment tools to make payments more powerful

We’re payments experts at Zai, with over a decade of experience helping tech-minded companies conquer complex payment challenges. During this time, we’ve been able to build a large toolkit of different payment tools, including:

While other payment providers offer similar products, what sets us apart is our expertise in using our tools to orchestrate complex and bespoke payment solutions specifically for your company’s needs.

We’ll have our team of experts first sit down with your product department to learn your payment needs and how it fits into your product. We’ll then build a proposal around your infrastructure using our tools. Once you’re satisfied with our proposal, we’ll walk you through implementation and support you during your time with us.

This approach enables us to power your payments back-end for whatever your business need is – whether it’s BPAY, accepting cards, or creating a more engaging marketplace, proptech or financial services platform.

How Zai clients use our BPAY API

Zai’s BPAY API helps companies in multiple industries provide a better user experience for both customers and reconciliation teams alike. Here are some of the most common use cases we see.

Cryptocurrency trading platforms

Cryptocurrency markets are moving 24/7 with investors constantly watching to strike when they think the opportunities are there. While card payments would be ideal to enable customers to top up and invest through a trading platform, regulations and risk considerations prohibit their use.

Instead, crypto firms can turn to BPAY since it’s not only compliant with financial regulations but also allows customers to top-up large amounts of cash for trading. If they use the traditional BPAY infrastructure, it can take days to move funds from one account to another and investors will probably miss out on a trade as the market moves much faster than BPAY.

With Zai’s BPAY API, the trading platform can see a user’s payin as soon as it leaves their bank account and enters our ecosystem. That way, the exchange can credit their account and enable them to trade at that moment, knowing full well the user’s funds are on their way.

Proptech apps that make real estate management easier

Proptech platforms enable real estate companies and landlords to better manage properties. Receiving rent and paying expenses is one of the core values of these services. Thanks to its reliability and high transaction limits, BPAY is one of their core tools for collecting rent.

However, with BPAY’s slow settlement cycle, the platforms cannot use funds received from tenants until a few days after paying. The lag slows down connected activities, impacting suppliers and other goals in the process.

With Zai’s BPAY API, proptech platforms can inform their landlords and property managers as soon as a tenant pays their rent. They’ll know exactly how much funds they have available to them, and follow up with tenants who are at risk of falling behind on rent.

Managing rent isn’t the only benefit of BPAY for proptechs, though. Property managers have multiple expenses they need to cover, including common fees, maintenance and tradies’ services. Our BPAY Payout API enables them to pay all of these expenses via BPAY directly on the platform. Since we send those requests to BPAY immediately via our API, your customers’ suppliers will get funds sooner, which helps you build brand loyalty.

Service companies that need to know a customer paid before (re) opening a service

Utilities and other service providers use BPAY to help their customers open accounts and pay late bills to unlock suspended services. However, the slow settlement times generally mean customers who have paid will have to wait days before their services can be restored.

The delay creates an unpleasant customer experience, as the user who paid should be entitled to use the service again. On the other hand, the service provider has no way to verify the information until a few days later, once the BPAY transaction finishes. The user isn’t happy and can ultimately hurt the provider’s brand and reputation.

With Zai, though, this poor experience doesn’t happen.

For example, imagine a customer of an internet service provider (ISP) inadvertently missing a direct debit to pay a bill, as their account was short. The ISP automatically suspended their internet service. The customer goes on the ISP website via their mobile data and goes to the “pay a late bill” portal.

They enter their BPAY CRN number and settle the charges. Because the ISP uses Zai’s BPAY API, the company can see their payment immediately and restore services. Meanwhile, the customer is satisfied thanks to the quick support and will be more likely to recommend the ISP to their friends.

Discover how Zai's full suite of settlement APIs and tools can help you streamline your reconciliation process. Contact us today to learn more. 

What’s in store for the future of BPAY?

BPAY came about because of a need to improve the online bill-paying process in Australia. Merchants and consumers wanted a more tech-friendly way to pay large value payments, which (before BPAY) was lacking. BPAY addressed many of those points with added benefits, such as:

  • The ability to make a pre-authorised payment from a debit account, great for sectors that are often not permitted to accept credit card payments.

  • The cost is much lower than card payments, particularly for higher value payments, because the fee is flat rather than based on a percentage of the transaction value, like credit cards.

  • There’s no need to educate customers or provide incentives to use this option because it’s become an extremely popular payment service with Australian consumers.

However, the technology still has its downsides – primarily in how long it takes to settle a transaction.

BPAY payments are only processed up until a cut-off time, which varies across banks, on weekdays. So the funds related to payments made before the cut-off time on Monday are available on Tuesday morning. But, if payments were made after the cut-off time, they would not be processed until Tuesday, which means funds wouldn’t be available until Wednesday. Similarly, payments made after the cut-off time on Friday are not processed until Monday, with the funds available on Tuesday.

Considering the long settlement times, it shouldn’t be surprising that there are already some efforts to replace BPAY. The NPP is at work to improve the direct debit process through its PayTo initiative. This functionality brings real-time settlement to businesses with recurring billing. There’s lots of chatter about NPP using the lessons learned and technology created from PayTo to reinvent BPAY-style bill payment. When that happens, we expect BPAY to slowly disappear.

However, there’s no confirmed closure of BPAY or migration to NPP announced at this time. Further, adoption won’t happen overnight. Consumers and companies will continue to use BPAY well through this decade.

As payment experts, we’re always monitoring the industry for changes as they occur. We’re constantly writing about these trends on our blog. Keep your eyes here and be the first to know about all the latest developments in the Australian payment industry.

Use Zai’s API to modernise your BPAY experience

While BPAY might sunset sometime down the road, for now, it’s here to stay. However, technology will continue to evolve, making API connectivity more important than ever for Australian businesses wanting to build great products.

Our BPAY API provides Australian innovators with a crucial link between one of the most popular payment methods in Australia and the companies that need a complete tech solution for BPAY.

If you’re ready to accelerate your BPAY operations with our APIs and suite of payment tools, we’re here to help. Contact us today to speak to one of our BPAY API experts.

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