Workforce Payments Guide Australia
Last updated: Dec 18, 2023
Papaya Global fully support payments in Australia
Papaya Global supports payments to contractors in Australia. The payout currency may vary based on the receiver bank account setup when receiving foreign currencies. It is advised for contractors to reach out to their bank to confirm how foreign currencies are handled
The Know Your Customer (KYC) process in Australia involves identifying customers and verifying their details in compliance with laws and regulations, specifically the Australian Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act. This process is executed to ensure the financial system is not misused for criminal activities.
The KYC process includes fully identifying a customer before providing them with services. This can include: full name, other names (if any), date of birth, residential address, occupation, source of wealth, and citizenship information.
Business banking customers need to confirm their business name and entity details, business address, and industry information. Documents used to verify identity must not be expired, and utility bills used for address verification must be issued within the last three months. Certified documents must include specific information and meet certain criteria.
The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac) has also introduced requirements for financial institutions to assess their customers’ risk profiles, develop a tailored approach to managing that risk, and monitor customers’ transactions on an ongoing basis.
The use of AI-powered verification solutions is also mentioned, allowing for the verification of government-issued identity documents. Other options for KYC checks include the Document Verification Service (DVS) provided by the Office of the Information Commissioner (OAIC) and its partners. Banks may also be required to collect and check information about the foreign tax residency of relevant account holders. If customers do not confirm their details, access to digital banking and potentially the account/s may be restricted.
There are several regulations and initiatives in Australia that impact cross-border workforce payments:
Payments System Regulation and Policy Issues: The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has undertaken regulatory and policy work on retail payment systems. A key focus area has been the completion of the review of retail payments regulation, which supports the shift towards digital payments.
The review also focused on measures to support and promote the ongoing availability of least-cost routing (LCR), which is the ability of merchants to choose which debit network processes certain debit card transactions.
Harmonised ISO 20022 Data Requirements: The RBA has welcomed the publication of harmonised ISO 20022 data requirements for cross-border payments by the Bank for International Settlements’ Committee on Payment and Market Infrastructures. The RBA believes that global adoption of these requirements will help to reduce inefficiencies in the processing of cross-border payments.
Cross-border Provisions: Safe Work Australia mentions cross-border provisions that provide coverage for workers who travel to or work temporarily in different jurisdictions.
Principles for Cross-border Financial Regulation: The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has outlined principles for cross-border financial regulation. It explains ASIC’s role in regulating financial facilities, services, and products across borders.
Bank Account Opening
To open a company bank account in Australia, the following must be provided: an Australian Business Number (ABN) or Australian Company Number (ACN), proof of business registration, Tax File Number (TFN), business name and address, type of business entity, and details of all business directors or partners.
The business should be operated in Australia and the owner must be over 18. Required identification documents generally include government-issued photo ID like a passport or driving license, or a combination of other documents that together establish the identity and address.
The application process can take just a few minutes if this is a simple business entity like a sole trader and have your ID available. For more complex businesses with multiple signatories, you will need to go into a branch for an ID and document check. However, banks and specialist providers usually need to complete verification checks on you and your business to comply with local and international law. These checks can take a day or two, and may require you to provide further information or paperwork before you can use your account.
The major foreign banks operating in Australia include HSBC Bank Australia, Bank of Sydney, Citibank Australia, ING, and HBOS. The largest foreign-owned bank in Australia is Bank West, which is owned by the UK bank HBOS.
Local Major Banks
The major local banks operating in Australia are Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Bank, Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) Bank, and National Australia Bank. These are often referred to as the ‘big four’. Other significant local banks include Macquarie Bank, HSBC Bank Australia, Citibank Australia, Bank of Melbourne, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, and Suncorp Bank.
The B2C payment tools available in Australia include: MasterCard, VISA, American Express, PayPal, ZIP, POLi, Google Pay, BPAY, Apple Pay, Shopify, BigCommerce, Wix Ecommerce, Squarespace, Square, WooCommerce, and Sellfy.
Cryptocurrency is acceptable in Australia and is subject to various regulations:
Crypto-assets: The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) provides guidelines for businesses involved with crypto-assets such as cryptocurrency, tokens, or stablecoins. It covers obligations under the Corporations Act 2001 and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001.
Digital Currency Exchange Providers: New laws have been implemented by AUSTRAC, Australia’s financial intelligence agency and anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) regulator, for digital currency exchange (DCE) providers operating in Australia. These laws cover the regulation of service providers of cryptocurrencies including bitcoin.
Regulating Digital Asset Platforms: The Australian Treasury has proposed a regulatory framework for digital asset platforms that present similar risks to entities that operate in the traditional financial system.
Digital Currency (Cryptocurrency): Businesses that exchange digital currencies must enroll and register with AUSTRAC.