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How the Merchant Payment Ecosystem Can Create Value in Instant Payments

Instant payments and the merchant payments ecosystem

Recently, ACI conducted some research into the appetite to make use of instant payments among corporates. The results were overwhelmingly favorable, but when we think about the benefits of immediate payments for corporates, it does seem obvious that they would want to leverage this new payment type.

Instant payments for corporates

When we consider the benefits and challenges of traditional payment types, real-time payments come out on top across the board, and corporates understand this. Cards might have been preferable in the past, but they aren’t fast funds and they are certainly not low cost. Perhaps because of this, corporates believe that immediate payments will replace the use of cards. Lower costs, lower fraud via secure channels of push payments, reduced operational weight of reconciliation, and faster funds for improved liquidity all add up to operational improvements.

What’s holding the industry back at the point of interaction?

The challenge lies in improving acceptance among corporates, and – perhaps the more complex challenge – motivating consumers to use this new payment type.

Acceptance will work itself out as corporates begin to leverage the central infrastructures and clearing and settlement mechanisms that are emerging, or are already in place, across Europe. The relative success of MyBank and iDEAL are evidence that acceptance doesn’t have to be the major hurdle.

The big challenge is creating a real value proposition for the end consumer, alongside a consistent and smooth customer experience. That value is probably going to include discounting or loyalty accrual offers. But the CX part of the equation comes into play when we begin to wrap in immediate checkout options, and the sense of security that customers get by paying ‘by bank’ through tokenization, linking purchases on device operating systems to their preferred payments provider. Forward-thinking banks will be looking to enable strong PSD2 propositions and engaging merchant acquirers and payment service providers (PSPs) or ISOs to ensure corporate customers can drive consumer spending via faster payments. Banks and app providers that will be offering these kinds of real-time payment interactions need to engage the wider payments ecosystem so that they deliver on this customer experience. It will be needed if we want to work together to create true instant payments ubiquity, no matter the channel.

The path to ubiquity is hard; acceptance and issuance have always been a chicken and egg situation for payments. In this case all links in the payments chain need to work towards the end goal together, because instant payments holds huge potential for corporates, banks, processors and merchant acquirers.

Discover more ways payments players can collaborate with their corporate customers to deliver real-time experiences in our Digital Transformation Guide.