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Making cyber security about humans with Alastair MacGibbon

As cyber-attacks continue to rise, Alastair MacGibbon from CyberCX shared his expertise at Curious Thinkers 2021 about how to make cybersecurity about humans in the fight against cybercrime.

In this session, Alastair shares his knowledge gained from his time as the Head of Australian Cyber Security and as Australia’s first e-Safety Commissioner and Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Cyber Security.

He discusses the key players in cybercrime, how slow responses from tech vendors and patchy hardware supply exposes us to increasing risk and reveals how cybercriminals exploit the weaknesses in the cybersecurity chain – simple human mistakes.

Watch the video and discover what can you do to create a cyber-resilient operation and workforce. Listen to Alastair and learn how you can be better prepared to respond to increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks.

Keynote: ‘Making cybersecurity about humans in the fight against cybercrime’ with Alastair MacGibbon, CyberCX.

Building on the government’s Open Banking agenda

In this Curious Thinkers 2021 panel on Open Banking, we heard from industry leaders Scott Farrell, Jamie Leach and Rob Hale led by moderator Kieran McKenna talk about how you can capitalise on the Australian Government’s pivot to a digital economy.

The session explores how the government intends to enhance the Consumer Data Rights’ functionality, leverage it to support the new digital economy and make it safer, more effective and inclusive. It wants to encourage organisations to become data recipients so it can persuade millions of consumers to share their data. This, in turn, will fulfil their end goal of creating a robust digital economy.

So, what can you do to unlock value from the government’s refreshed Open Banking agenda? Hear from Scott, Jamie and Rob as they share their insights into building on the government’s plan from a regional bank, regulatory and industry perspective.

Watch the video and discover what can you do to take advantage of the government’s plans to accelerate the rollout of the Consumer Data Right and create real and long-lasting data-driven customer relationships.

Panel session: ‘Building on the government’s Open Banking agenda to create powerful data-driven customer relationships’ with Rob Hale, Regional Australia Bank, Jamie Leach, FDATA and Scott Farrell, King & Wood Mallesons.

Navigating customer-led digital innovation

At Curious Thinkers 2021, we learned how to navigate customer-led digital innovation in a panel session led by Cuscal’s Chief Client Officer and Deputy CEO Bianca Bates with 86 400’s Travis Tyler, Square’s Samina Hussain Letch and Westpac’s Di Challenor.

The session explores how customer-led innovation is becoming a competitive battleground in every sector. Especially considering a survey by Accenture found that while 93% of enterprise-level executives think innovation is critical to their business, only 34% believe they had a well-defined customer-led innovation strategy in place.

So, what can you do to unlock the value of customer-led innovation? Hear from Travis, Di and Samina as they share their insights into building a customer-led culture from a global, local and start-up perspective.

Watch the video and discover what customers now expect, get a sense of what’s possible and learn how you can build a culture of digital innovation.

Panel session: ‘Navigating the competitive battleground of consumer-led digital innovation’ with Bianca Bates, Cuscal, Travis Tyler, 86 400, Samina Hussain-Letch, Square Australia, and Di Challenor, Westpac.

DBS’ incredible digital transformation with Paul Cobban

At Curious Thinkers 2021, DBS Chief Transformation Officer Paul Cobban shared his journey of how he took DBS from being called Damn Bloody Slow to ‘World’s Best Bank’ not just once, but three times over.

In this session, Paul walks you through the multi-award-winning transformation journey he designed and led for DBS. He reveals the 10 lessons DBS learned and shows how you can apply them in your organisation.

Watch the video and discover what it took Paul to transform DBS’ 50-year-old cultural, digital and data offering and re-imagine banking from the ground up.

Keynote: ‘From Damn Bloody Slow to Best in the World – the transformation of DBS’ with Paul Cobban, DBS.

Bianca Bates is now Chief Client Officer & Deputy CEO

Craig and Bianca in front of Cuscal logo

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Bianca Bates as Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Cuscal.

Bianca joined Cuscal in July 2014 as General Counsel and Company Secretary before pivoting her career to pursue more commercial responsibility and deeper relationships with our clients in her role as Chief Client Officer.

Whilst Bianca will continue in her current role, her title will change to Chief Client Officer & Deputy CEO in recognition of her expanded role of being Craig Kennedy’s delegate when he is unavailable.

In addition to leading our Product and Service teams, Bianca will take a more leading role in Cuscal’s engagement with industry bodies, regulators and shareholders.

Commenting on the appointment, Cuscal Managing Director Craig Kennedy said: “From the feedback that I have received from our Board, Shareholders, Clients and Staff over the past six years, I am confident that Bianca will continue to excel in her new expanded capacity as Chief Client Officer and Deputy CEO.

Please join me and our Board of Directors in congratulating Bianca, as she continues to advance her career at Cuscal.”

Bianca has held several senior roles during her time at Cuscal, including Acting General Manager, Product & Service, General Counsel & Company Secretary, Acting General Manager Shared Services and Head of Client Services.

She has over 20 years’ experience in financial services within large public and private US and Australian companies. Prior to Cuscal, she worked in senior legal and compliance company secretariat roles with Genworth, GE Capital and DLA Phillips Fox.

Enabling the future

Our world is evolving faster than ever before. Leading the way are the innovators, the thinkers; those that see potential and seize opportunities.

For over 50 years, we have been helping our clients to transform the old and navigate the new. Our clients include the breadth of the finance industry across all the banks and mutuals, to the neobanks and the latest fintechs.

We partner with our clients to enable their entire payments ecosystem, so they can deliver the best payments experiences for their customers. We deliver this through our expert team, our ability to anticipate market needs, and our deep understanding of the financial payments industry.

Because at Cuscal we have one mission: to enable the future.

As an Authorised Deposit-taking Institution (ADI), our extensive capabilities include card and acquiring products, mobile payments, fraud prevention, EFT switching and settlements.

Watch the video about Cuscal, enabling the future.

Armaguard Group acquires Cuscal rediATM Scheme

Person pushing ATM button

Sydney, 26 February 2019: Armaguard Group announced today the signing of an agreement to purchase Cuscal’s physical ATM assets and to take over the management and operation of the rediATM Scheme.

The rediATM network provides direct charge fee-free transactions for the cardholders of rediATM Scheme members, with an extensive network of ATMs across hundreds of unique locations, including regional centres Australia-wide.

The purchase aligns the core competencies and future plans of both the Armaguard Group and Cuscal.

The Armaguard Group has decades of expertise in ATMs, and currently provides services to the majority of existing ATMs in Australia. This purchase allows Armaguard to provide additional end-to-end currency and technology management solutions, and facilitates the continued provision of cash across the community. Cuscal is a payments business and its future strategy is centred on mobile, real-time and data initiatives. This sale allows Cuscal to focus on its future plans while ensuring its clients and customers continue to receive convenient, secure, 24/7 access to their money.

Gary Allen, CEO, Armaguard Group, is delighted about the purchase:

Our core business is currency management, which includes supporting financial institutions with the circulation of cash into the community. We aim to ensure that everyone has access to their cash when they need it, and part of this is the provision of ATMs, an essential service to communities across Australia.

We look forward to investing in this well-established network to support ongoing services to the community.

Commenting on the sale, Craig Kennedy, MD, Cuscal said:

We are proud of our history in ATMs. We worked with one of our clients to offer the first ever modern ATM back in 1977, and the rediATM Scheme has given millions of people secure, easy, direct-charge free access to their cash for nearly 10 years.

However the ATM industry has evolved, and our business has changed. We strongly believe that this sale is the best way for our clients and their customers to continue to get secure, convenient access to their cash. We will continue to drive, switch and settle for ATMs, while spending more time on our core strategic areas of mobile, real-time and data – enabling our clients’ customers to make payments wherever they are, with whatever device they choose.

Gary Allen sums up:

While the deal is subject to regulatory and other approvals, we expect it to be completed in the coming months. This acquisition is the natural extension of our current technology driven business, and we look forward to a seamless transition for rediATM Scheme members and their customers.


Media contact details: Eva Donaldson, 0429 449 963,

Media contact details: Jake Waddell, 0417 312 902,

The Voice of Payments

Virtual assistants are changing the way people shop, bank and interact with businesses. From chatbots to voice assistants, businesses and their customers are seeing the benefits of automating and simplifying transactions and interactions.

Learn more about voice assistants and other innovations driving change in payments around the world in the Global Payments Innovation Playbook which we produced in collaboration with PYMNTS.

My key takeouts from our Curious Thinkers event

Bianca Bates and Leda Glyptis

We recently held our inaugural client conference ‘Curious Thinkers’ where local and international experts presented on the topics that are front of mind in the payments space. My key take out from the Conference was that now, more than ever, it is essential for financial services organisations to clearly understand their customers’ expectations. They then need to be able to respond quickly to those expectations while managing an increasingly complex compliance and regulatory environment.

Here are some other learnings which may help navigate the current landscape:

The importance of picking the right partners

Collaboration and partnering are essential to succeed in the current market. Leda Glyptis’s thoughts on partnership resonated with me. Leda highlighted the options available to financial institutions in this age of digital disruption and greater open-ness. I loved Leda’s tips on picking the right partner and which partners to avoid at all costs:

  • Vampires – companies that fundamentally undermine or steal our business
  • Cheese sandwiches – companies that add no value (this came from rowing, where you can tell the value of each rower by replacing them with a cheese sandwich and measuring the difference in boat speed)

Fraud prevention for the future

Nuno Sebastiao, the global CEO of our fraud partner Feedzai, outlined the capabilities of the Feedzai platform, including machine learning and AI. Nuno and his team’s presentations during the day reinforced our decision to roll out the Feedzai fraud solution. It is a best-in-class fraud monitoring tool that provides us and our clients with a holistic, and highly granular, view of each end customer. The ability to intimately know someone’s spending patterns, and so detect when something is out of character, will be crucial in preventing future fraud.

The role of regulators in a time of change

Change is not new, of course… But what is unsettling for today’s financial institutions is the sheer pace of change.” Wayne Byres provided a timely and useful perspective on the challenges facing regulators and financial services companies today. In particular, he highlighted:

  • The role APRA plays role in promoting stability, but not protecting regulated entities or standing in the way of change
  • The necessity for many financial institutions to increase their technology budgets to allow new technologies while maintaining their current systems
  • APRA’s position on cloud usage, including safety and security

On the way to open banking

Scott Farrell, the Chair of the Australian Government’s Review into Open Banking, reminded us of the principles behind Open Banking: “to give customers more control over their data leading to more choice in banking and more convenience in managing their money.” Whilst many are concentrating on the compliance requirements that sit with open banking, we are really focussed on how we can enable some real growth opportunities for our clients in an open banking environment.

The ‘youthquake’ is coming – we’d better be ready.

Rocky Scopelliti outlined how the millennial generation views work, banking and the digital world. Two points which struck me in particular were:

  • Millennials are motivated by ‘purpose’ and ‘social equity’ more so than other generations.
  • Being online, or connected, is “as natural to them as breathing”. A great reminder of how crucial digital and mobile banking is to our future.

Innovation is over-used, but under-utilised.

We all talk about how important ‘innovation’ is, but if we’re honest, most of us don’t back up our words very well with concrete action. Charlotte Rush gave us practical, simple and scientifically validated methods to cultivate innovation. To turn this into action we then had a group ideation session on how to collaborate better to enable a seamless customer experience, from Cuscal to client to customer. We will be taking the best of these ideas forward in the year ahead.

Real-time payments have ramped up.

Now that all the major banks are live we’ve seen a 40% jump in New Payments Platform (NPP) transaction numbers between July and August. Adrian Lovney outlined the NPPA’s priorities for the coming years, including an expansion in reach, volume and capability. The ‘consent and mandate’ service will be particularly exciting. It will make direct debits simpler and more transparent, removing one of the major obstacles to account switching. It will also allow services like Osko’s ‘Request to Pay’ and pave the way for open banking. We will bring these innovations to our clients and their customers as quickly as possible.

How to lead in the digital age.

Stephen Scheeler emphasised how important it is for business leaders to understand the fundamentals of digital. If we fail to understand digital, we open the door to competitors that do (like the way Netflix rapidly overtook Time Warner). The points which stuck with me were:

  • The importance of data. Most companies only use about 5-10% of the data they hold on their customers, but it holds the keys to solving customer problems.
  • Be ‘obsessed’ with customer experience. Our customers buy things which solve their problems, if we don’t understand their difficulties we are taking them for granted.

The link between digital identity and open banking

Digital identity is rapidly evolving and there is no consistent global standard. Steven Bankston, from Visa, updated us on Europe’s leadership and outlined Visa’s plans for a global platform to incorporate digital identity into a seamless payments experience. What really struck me was the inextricable link between digital identity and open data. The interplay between the two will create both opportunities and threats in coming years.

As I reflect on the two days I’m hopeful that it has helped us to inspire closer collaboration with our clients and partners for the year ahead. We can only succeed if our clients succeed and I believe that our first conference has started some great conversations.

 By Bianca Bates. Chief Client Officer

Curious Thinkers conference wrap-up

Curious Thinkers event location shot in Sydney with logo

Our inaugural Curious Thinkers conference, held on 24 & 25 September 2018, took our clients on a journey through innovation, thought leadership, product solutions and more to inspire thinking about the future of payments.

Over the course of the two days we covered a wide range of current and future-focused topics – from what’s happening globally in payments and how that impacts us here in Australia, to open banking, real-time payments, customer experience and how to drive innovation within organisations.

An exceptional line up of international and local thought leaders shared their expertise and insights, including: Dr Leda Glyptis (Chief of Staff, 11:FS), Nuno Sebastiao (CEO, Feedzai), Steven Bankston (Senior Director, Product Development Visa), Stephen Scheeler (The Digital CEO), Charlotte Rush (Innovation Consultant, Inventium), Rocky Scopelliti (Futurologist & Author), Scott Farrell (Partner, KWM) and many more.

Read the Conference highlights from our Chief Client Officer, Bianca Bates.

View video content from Curious Thinkers via the links below:

  • Curious Thinkers 2018 Showreel
  • Day 1 Playlist featuring Charlotte Rush , Rocky Scopelliti, Steven Bankston, Stephen Scheeler,   Adrian Lovney (NPPA), Bianca Bates (Cuscal), Wayne Byres (APRA), Panel Discussion: Unlocking the potential of real-time payments, and Global Innovation Insights in partnership with presented by Bianca Bates and Sarah Whiteway (Cuscal)
  • Day 2 Playlist featuring Leda Glyptis, Nuno Sebastiao , Scott Farrell, Andrew Twaits (Bendigo Bank) and Panel Discussions: Open Banking Deep Dive, and Unlocking new tech to drive business growth.