Australian university tests central bank digital currency for cash disbursements in emergency situations

CBDC PILOT: Some of the participants in the test, including Southern Cross students and staff

The Australia and New Zealand Bank (ANZ) has completed an eight-week pilot programme with Southern Cross University in New South Wales that has shown how organisations such as universities could provide immediate financial support using a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in emergency situations when ATMs and other payments technologies are unusable.

During the pilot students at the university’s Gold Coast and Northern River campuses were given smart cards pre-loaded with the prototype eAUD digital currency, enabling them to use the CBDC to pay for goods and services at participating merchants and facilities even when the internet was unavailable.

“The pilot was delivered by researchers and professional staff, examining the use of CBDC to solve a range of issues including safeguarding public trust in money, efficiency in the delivery of currency, and resilience and innovation in payment systems,” Southern Cross University explains.

“We looked at the technology platforms supporting CBDCs, the trust that customers and vendors have on this new technology, spending patterns and the overall satisfaction of using such a new product.

“We observed in our research how the technology acceptance and innovation adoption are a socio-technical process.”

“It was very easy to use eAUD to buy goods and services. As seamless as paying using my bank card or mobile phone, but with the certainty that, if and when the internet is down, then transactions are still possible,” one participant in the pilot says.

ANZ, Southern Cross University and RMIT University originally announced plans to pilot the prototype eAUD in March this year.

• The European Central Bank’s digital euro programme director Evelien Witlox recently reported on the ongoing development of the digital euro for NFCW’s Contactless World Congress. Watch the presentation here.

Australian university tests central bank digital currency for cash disbursements in emergency situations was written by Tom Phillips and published by NFCW.