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Wholesale Banking

Instant Payments: a real game changer?

Arguably every treasurer on the planet has heard about real-time payments, and many will already have used them in their consumer lives. But what are the concrete benefits of implementing instant payments in a business context, for both B2C and B2B flows? And is the work needed to adjust to real-time flows, data, and reporting, really worth it?

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The technology you use impresses no one. The experience you create with it is everything. - Sean Gerety

For decades technological advances have dictated change in our society. But not every technological innovation has proven to have staying power. For most, it’s now impossible to imagine life without smartphones and tablets. But after an initial flurry of interest, innovations such as smart glasses and 3D TVs turned out to be just a passing fad. In determining what stays and what doesn’t, convenience and improved customer experience is what makes the difference. 

The same applies to financial innovations. Some of the likely ‘stayers’ among recent financial advances include embedded finance, contactless payment solutions, and event-triggered automated payments. Why? Because they open up a myriad of possibilities that all aim to improve customer journeys. The story is the same for one of the latest trends in the financial sector: instant payments, with their high potential to improve the customer experience. So why discuss instant payments now? The European Commission’s announcement in October 2022 that it will pursue further regulation of instant payments is an important milestone that promises to remove many of the barriers currently standing in the way of this exciting new payment form. Though banks have already started introducing instant payments, this regulation will be a catalyst for further uptake. It will also be an important driver in helping to make instant payments the most used payment method across Europe for consumers, as well as for corporates, eventually creating a ‘new normal’.

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