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  • SuperStream glossary of terms

    This glossary provides definitions of some of the key terms associated with SuperStream.



    APRA-regulated fund

    Super funds regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).

    APRA funds will commence receiving employer contributions sent using SuperStream from November 2014, but must have implemented a SuperStream-compliant solution by 30 June 2015.


    AUSkey is a secure login that identifies you when you use participating government online servicesExternal Link on behalf of a business. It enables secure access to ATO online services (for example, the ATO’s Fund Validation Service and EmployerTICK).

    The Bulk Electronic Clearing System (BECS)

    BECS refers to the self-regulatory framework that supports the exchange and settlement of direct credit and direct debit transactions among banks, building societies and credit unions.


    BPAY is an electronic bill payment system, which enables payments to registered BPAY billers through a financial institution’s online banking facility.

    Data message

    Data message refers to the information (such as member, super fund and payment) sent electronically in support of a superannuation payment.

    Default fund

    The default fund (employer-nominated super fund) is the super fund an employee's super guarantee contributions will be paid to, if they have not chosen an alternate super fund.

    A default fund must be a complying fund registered by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) to offer a MySuper product. It must also offer a minimum level of life insurance.

    Electronic Commerce Interface (ECI)

    ECI is an internet-based application that allows businesses and their service providers to deal electronically with the ATO using recognised electronic certificates.

    Electronic Payment Destination

    Refers to the method used by employers and funds to make payments electronically.

    SuperStream payments can be made by either BECS or BPAY.

    Electronic Portability Form (EPF)

    The EPF is an ATO hosted form that can be used by fund members to transfer the whole balance of super accounts between APRA-regulated funds, or to the member's self-managed superannuation fund.

    Electronic Service Address

    This identifies where the superannuation contribution data message is sent for a particular fund. It can be an Internet Protocol (IP) address, Uniform Resource Locator (URL) or an alias.

    For APRA-regulated funds, employers can give the destination fund’s unique superannuation identifier (USI) to their service provider, who can obtain a fund’s ESA by using the Fund Validation Service (FVS). Alternatively, employers can obtain this information directly from the APRA-regulated fund.

    For SMSFs, this is known as the electronic service address alias, and is obtained from a SMSF messaging service provider.

    A register of SuperStream messaging service providers can be found on by searching ‘messaging providers’.

    Employer contributions

    Contributions an employer makes to a super fund for their employees (including Super Guarantee contributions, and contributions made under a salary sacrifice arrangement).


    This service allows employers to check employee details (including name, TFN, date of birth and address) before sending contributions to a fund.

    Fund Validation Service (FVS)

    This service enables employers and funds to obtain APRA-regulated funds’ e-commerce details that support SuperStream transactions (including unique superannuation identifier, bank account details, and electronic service addresses). SMSF details are not included in the FVS.


    Gateways facilitate the transfer of electronic data messages within the SuperStream network.

    Genuine attempt

    Employers and super funds will be deemed to have made a genuine attempt to prepare for SuperStream if they have an implementation plan in place with a service provider, and have set a start date for sending or receiving their first SuperStream compliant transactions.

    Service providers (intermediaries)

    A term used to collectively describe service providers that assist super funds and employers in processing super transactions (eg payroll software providers, out-sourced payroll providers, clearing houses, message handlers and super fund administrators).

    Medium to Large employer

    An employer with 20 or more employees.

    Legislative Instrument

    The SuperStream Legislative Instrument is the legal document that specifies the technical requirements, including the transitional arrangements allowed, when finalising SuperStream implementation.

    Message handler

    A service provider that sends, receives or transforms data in a SuperStream compliant format on behalf of a fund or employer.

    Payment reference number

    The payment reference number is a unique identifier that links the superannuation payment and the data message.

    Related party

    Related parties of a super fund include members of the fund, standard employer sponsors and ‘Part 8 associates’, such as relatives of members and companies controlled by one or more of the members.

    Self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF)

    An SMSF is a super fund with 4 members or fewer regulated by the Australian Taxation Office.

    SMSFs that receive employer contributions have until 30 June 2015 to complete their SuperStream implementation (that is, SMSFs can receive contribution payments sent electronically to a nominated fund bank account and data messages sent electronically to an electronic service address).

    SMSFs that don't receive employer contributions, or only receive employer contributions from related parties, are exempt from SuperStream.

    Self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) messaging provider

    SMSF messaging providers simplify how SMSFs can receive employer contribution messages. These messages are received via a secure electronic distribution network in line with SuperStream obligations, and providers translate these messages into an easy format for SMSF trustees to access.

    Messaging providers will register the SMSF and provide them with an electronic service address (alias) that can be provided to employers.

    Small employer

    An employer with 19 or fewer employees.

    Super TFN integrity check service (SuperTICK)

    This service improves the integrity of data used by super funds when meeting their superannuation obligations (such as processing rollover requests).

    It allows a fund to check a member’s details, including their tax file number (TFN), against ATO records online to ensure data integrity.

    Small Business Superannuation Clearing House

    A free government provided superannuation clearing house that can be used by small employers with 19 or fewer employees. Click here for further information.

    Superannuation Clearing House

    An external service provider that arranges the sending of superannuation data and payments to funds on behalf of an employer.

    Clearing houses provide a central collection and dissemination point for employers to meet their payroll obligations including superannuation.


    SuperStream is a government reform to improve the efficiency of the superannuation system. Under SuperStream, all superannuation transactions will be sent electronically.

    Employers will be required to send super contributions on behalf of their employees by submitting data and payments electronically.

    All superannuation funds, including SMSFs, must be able to receive contributions sent electronically. Additionally, APRA-regulated funds are required to receive rollovers electronically in accordance with SuperStream.

    Transitional arrangement

    An APRA-regulated fund and employer may enter into a transitional arrangement until 30 June 2017. This type of arrangement allows an employer to use alternate file formats to transfer contribution data to funds. The conditions that must be met for setting up a transitional arrangement can be accessed hereExternal Link.

    Unique Superannuation Identifier (USI)

    This is a unique identifier used to identify a superannuation product within an APRA-regulated fund. The USI may be the APRA-regulated fund’s ABN with 3 additional digits, or the APRA-regulated fund’s current superannuation product identification number (SPIN).

    SMSFs don't have a USI – the ABN acts as the fund identifier.

    Validation services

    Commonly referred to as EmployerTICK and SuperTICK, these services are offered by the ATO to enable employers and funds to check the details of an employee or member before they send a contribution or process a rollover request.

      Last modified: 14 Jul 2016QC 43072