Why payments are the electricity of the economy

Ed Adshead-Grant from Bottomline Technologies explains how real-time payments are delivering heightened service, but it’s vital that security and efficiency remain top of mind

By Guest on 16 November 2017
Why payments are the electricity of the economy

This article first appeared in the Autumn 2017 issue of The Record.

Payments are the electricity of the economy – people don’t notice there’s a problem until it’s switched off. While businesses need to have constant uptime to deliver the highest level of payment performance, care must be taken to ensure payments are not being exposed to, or disrupted by, fraudulent activity.

Launched in the UK in 2008, real-time payments deliver certainty of fund transfers on a 24/7 basis. Although initial uptake has been relatively slow, we are beginning to see a significant increase in adoption rates – both locally and globally.

Why the movement towards real-time payments? Because consumers are demanding it, and businesses need to follow suit. In today’s digital world where same or next day service delivery is fast becoming the norm, one expects payments to be processed before a physical parcel is delivered.

On the supply side, innovation curves have accelerated while financial providers worldwide are working quickly to accommodate this demand. This facilitates a move away from closed, complex proprietary protocols towards global interoperability and format standards, which reduces cost and risk, and signals true payment innovation.

Real-time payments also enable global trading at a higher velocity. Money can be moved more easily, and companies will be better placed when it comes to trading with other parts of the world. Cash is king, and moving cash from A to B is the underlying principle of all business globally. The Faster Payments initiative naturally supports this. With all this innovation and change, it’s vital that the authenticity around payments remains a priority. Fraud cannot be allowed to infiltrate.

The integrity of these Faster Payments must remain sound – both internally and externally for companies. It’s not just about payments being quicker, they must be equally secure and trusted.

Substantial changes are approaching in the payment space as part of a regulatory push, which includes the introduction of Open Banking in the UK and PSD2 across Europe. This means going real-time is inevitable, so banks and organisations need to have a real-time strategy to compete. Inertia is not a strategy here – standing still and doing nothing will only put organisations at risk.

Bottomline Technologies, an established provider of real-time payments in the UK, has the technology to plug any corporate entity, bank or government into the various payment rails available today. This includes Faster Payments, Bacs, SWIFT, EBICS, distributed ledger technology, fraud prevention capabilities and much more. Through a single point of entry, Bottomline’s market-leading solution help to remove the complexity of managing multiple supplier arrangements, protocols and data mappings.

Ed Adshead-Grant is general manager of payments at Bottomline Technologies

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