A new payment platform that automates invoices and payment alerts for providers of NDIS services and enables clients to have full control over the payment process will be launched in aged care.

Pilot testing of the platform, called Lantern Pay, began in March 2016 for NDIS providers and clients.

Following several refinements it will be promoted more widely over the coming months.

It works through allowing providers to submit invoices to clients electronically, then prompts clients to review and approve payment, which they can do at the tap of a button via an app.

Clients can also review their full transaction history, give access to nominees or care coordinators to view or transact on their behalf, and set up service agreements with providers.

For providers, invoices can be generated at the time and place of service, there is no need to change existing banking arrangements and no additional software or hardware required.

While there are no set up or ongoing fees, Lantern Pay does charge providers a flat rate of 1.90 per cent plus GST on the value of the invoice.

Lantern Pay was co-created by its parent company, InLoop, and Westpack Banking Corp, with input from wide consultation with providers, care recipients, carers, families and Government.

Westpac Banking Corp recently took a 10 per cent equity stake in InLoop, joining Macquarie Group – which owns 35 per cent – as primary investors.

Brett Morgan, Chief Operations Officer at Lantern Pay said the product was developed after they kept hearing during the consultation stage that there was a big gap in the market for how consumers engage with providers in terms of account payment and management.

“When we went around the market with Westpac to hear what people wanted, the same issues kept coming up – how do I take my funding and pay the provider, and how do providers get paid now the consumers have control?”

“We worked out quickly there’s a big challenge here and started investing capital in this space.”

As a registered claims manager, Lantern Pay works closely with plan managers along with consumers, carers, providers and Government.

“Our platform will enable all schemes to move this way,” Mr Morgan said.

“We are talking to many providers of aged care services in the market as there is cross over with a number of them providing NDIS services.”

“We do see that in the future we will support the aged care sector to help providers receive their funds faster.”

Once a provider has registered once to deliver services on any scheme that supports Latern Pay they do not have to register again.

“We’re seeing more and more providers look to different schemes to see how they can enhance what they do and grow their services,” Mr Morgan said.

“There is a lot of opportunity at the moment for providers, as well as complexity when they have to claim through different schemes.”

“Our aim is for providers to be able to keep delivering great services to clients, and not be stressed about administration.”

Westpac and InLoop also have a contract with the Victorian Transport Accident Commission, with a direct interface system going live later this year that will enable people to see how much government funds can be spent under NDIS or TAC service contracts.