Australia's central bank says power failure hits payment system

Two women walk next to the Reserve Bank of Australia headquarters in central Sydney, Australia February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Australian central bank said on Thursday an internal power failure caused by maintenance of its fire control systems interrupted its Sydney data center and affected its ability to process some payments

The outage at the Reserve Bank of Australia lasted about three hours, but representatives of two major banks told Reuters the incident had affected payments throughout the industry.

The central bank said in its official Twitter feed that routine maintenance of its “fire control systems caused an interruption of power to the Bank’s main data center” and that it was “re-establishing full services”.

The central bank’s payments system includes clearing and settlement for cash, cards, cheques and electronic funds transfer transactions.

The outage did not affect the infrastructure behind its real-time payment services, called its New Payments Platform, the RBA added.

The central bank later said on its Twitter feed that retail and corporate customers were able to make and receive payments, although it did not say whether this meant the system had been fully restored.

Westpac Banking Corp, Australia’s No.2 lender, told Reuters the outage had impacted Australian financial institutions. It did not provide any details.

A spokesman for No.3 lender Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd told Reuters in an email the bank was aware of the outage but that the RBA had since restored services, which were now “operating normally”.

Reporting by Swati Pandey and Byron Kaye; Editing by Richard Borsuk and Sam Holmes