PayID is what Australians use to transfer money super-fast. You can link your email address or mobile number to your PayID and that’s what people use to send you money, rather than the archaic and annoying BSB and account number method that is frankly a punish. But while there’s no denying PayID is convenient and user-friendly, it also comes with the inability to change your PayID name. But there are exceptions.
PayID launched in 2018. It came out of the New Payments Platform (NPP), which now isn’t so new. The NPP was basically an upgraded banking system for Australia. Its biggest selling point was that it allows for the transfer of money from one person to another in near real-time, using an email address or phone number rather than the traditional BSB or account number process.
It was built by the Reserve Bank of Australia in consultation with 13 banks, comprised of the “big four” and some smaller ones. It’s overseen by New Payments Platform Australia (NPPA). But all we need to know is money lands in our accounts in seconds.
To set up a PayID, you go through your bank. You can change what accounts are attached to your PayID (such as when you move from one institution to another you can take your PayID to that new bank). But what you can’t do is change the name attached to your PayID. At least that’s what Googling tells us.
For example this excerpt (which might eventually update). This excerpt is pulled from an ANZ FAQ page. The page itself reads: “In some cases you may be able to change the name linked to a PayID as well”. But this is for a business account. The info regarding a personal PayID is hidden well beyond my patience. This isn’t just ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac have all decided this information isn’t something to share at the top of a page.
If you signed up for a PayID using your mobile number, you can start fresh with a new PayID attached to your email address or a new mobile number. But for those of us with a mobile number we’ve had for years, and no desire to get a new one, the only option if you want to change the name attached to the PayID is an email. And that’s a pretty shit option, let’s be real.
You might be thinking, ‘Why would I want to change my name?’. Well, there are some of us who signed up with a name we had in 2018 that we no longer go by OR that no longer legally exists. This can range from the name on our original birth certificate now being a dead name or someone getting married and taking their partner’s surname, and everything in between.
Gizmodo Australia asked NPPA if they had plans to change this, so an individual who has a dead name attached to their PayID no longer had to be confronted by that name each time they hand out their details.
“[PayID] was intentionally designed this way to minimise the risk of mistakes and fraud,” they told us. “A customer’s PayID short name should be an accurate representation of the legal account name of the linked bank account. Depending on how a participating bank has set up their processes, there may be a number of variations of the account name that the customer can choose from (such as using initials).”
The NPPA says there is a workaround, that if a customer needs to change their PayID name, say because of a change to their legal name, they can request their bank to do this for them.
“They will need to provide appropriate documentation as proof of their changed name, to enable this,” they added.
This is great news for people with the ability (and cash) to legally change their name. It’s a whole-ass process that can be overwhelming to the individual. It also is time-consuming and there are many agencies that get involved such as to change your state-issued driver’s licence, Medicare card and passport. You can also only change your name legally three times. (This doesn’t include taking your partner’s name after marriage if you are married in Australia, btw).
The issues arising here are the same for PayID.
Speaking with Gizmodo Australia about the inability to change your name on PayID, Lizzie O’Shea from Digital Rights Watch said platforms should honour your legal name change, so making this possible is good (thanks banks).
“Private payment service providers that assign us an identity or account using our name obviously have a responsibility to protect us from fraud and identity theft. Having said that, in the event that a person has taken the necessary legal steps to change their name and can produce documentation, private providers should respect that, and have the capacity to implement such changes into their system,” she said.
“This is the right thing to do, especially for people who have transitioned, or people who have left an abusive relationship and are seeking to start afresh, for example.”
It’s a tricky balance between protecting you against fraud and creating a piece of technology that doesn’t encroach on your safe space. But the good news is each bank seems to be willing to take this issue on as a case-by-case thing, so speak to your bank, they might actually be able to help.