request to pay
As a biller, Bank or PSP, have you heard of Request to Pay yet? 
When I first learnt of the proposition it was easy to see why it would be such a game-changer for the payments industry.

In this short article, we share 5 important facts that make Request to Pay one of the most interesting innovations in the payments space happening in 2021.

1. One app to rule them all

As a consumer I’ve two main issues with bill payments; one is that I dislike giving someone else my money (probably not much we can change about that!) the other is that all my billers have a different process for sending me invoices and taking payment – making my management of bills time consuming and harder than it should be. 

  • Wouldn’t it be great if I could choose for myself how I wanted to manage those bill payments with whoever provided the best experience or the payment method that suited me the most?

This is the major benefit of Request to Pay for the payer.  All payment requests can be sent to a single provider that I choose, making it possible for providers to create a compelling payer experience. 

A provider could help me prioritise the bills that need to be paid or perhaps allow me to pay a load of bills from different suppliers in a single payment.  What’s more, I can choose an app that supports the payment method most convenient for me; a single bill payment experience that I get chosen.

2. Who to pay, when to pay, how to pay

Slightly counterintuitive, but true—the payment part of bill payments is not the bit that’s broken.  The big drivers in the payments market today can be summarised in two words: Mobile and Empowerment.  Payers want to use their smart devices to stay on top of their affairs. They also want an easy way to choose who to pay, when to pay and how to pay. All this must be underpinned by a messaging approach that’s trustworthy.  

  • A joined up secure communication channel that complements the act of making payments is what’s missing.  Without it, payers revert to more traditional means that are largely manual. 

Request to Pay provides the messaging protocol that enables a payment provider representing a biller to communicate with a payment provider representing a payer.  This is key as it means that it plugs into existing payment methods and makes them better rather than replacing them.

3. A payment medium that’s secured at both ends

One downside of modern digital payments is introduction of new fraud vectors that put greater burden on consumers as a target.  Authorised Push Payment fraud is an example of this.  It occurs when a consumer or business is convinced to initiate a payment to a counterparty that isn’t who they say they are.  SMS, email and voice channels make this easier than it should be.  They are, by their very nature, open and allow anyone to contact anyone.  This heightened risk makes these data transfer options poor payment channels.  Request to Pay is different, the biller uses an interface from a supplier they trust to initiate requests for payment. 

  • The payer chooses an application from a supplier they trust to receive those requests. 

Both application providers are onboarded to Request to Pay and subscribe to the rules for being part of the ecosystem.    Both endpoints of the payments data transfer medium are secure ensuring that not only isthe communication channel itself is secure but also that the message itself can be trusted.

4. “It’s good to talk”

One of the biggest killers of SMEs in the UK is cash flow.  The more insight you have as a business of propensity to pay the more control you have of your cash flow.  The traditional invoice on 30-day payment terms does not help in this regard as there is no communication from the time of invoice issuance through to the payment or default of the payment. 

  • This is where Request to Pay can really help.  When a payer receives their invoice, they can respond with FIVE different options; pay in full, part pay, ask for a deadline extension, ask for more information, or decline the payment. 

If a payer part pays or requests a deadline extension, it should send alarm bells that there may be issues in payment completion, and an opportunity to engage with the customer to resolve.  For billers, the fundamentals of any contractual agreement haven’t fundamentally changed, RtP just gives them enriched opportunities for insight and resolution.

5. Customer ownership is key

I’ve mentioned trust several times already in this article, but it’s trust that’s fundamentally the lifeblood of a payments ecosystem.

  • Request to Pay (‘RtP’) enhances the existing apps and familiar approaches to bill payment that customers know and, yes, trust.  Working with Answer Pay, PSP partners can help billers to choose RtP as painlessly as selecting an option on a drop-down list.

At Answer Pay, we provide connectivity to PSPs who want to join the ecosystem.  They get the advantage of partnering with the control of building your own.  Development time can then be better invested in further enhancing and differentiating their customer facing interfaces.

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