Instantaneous Payments – An Intentional Cross-Enterprise Strategy

As instantaneous payments continue to evolve, corporate enterprises need to be intentional in their development of a cross-enterprise strategy that leverages the unique qualities of such payments. Consideration of relevant use cases, their ROI and soft benefits and future inter-operability will define a strategy based on the guidance of a broad consortium of internal and external stakeholders.

Current State

Currently The Clearing House, and in 2023 FedNow, will enable instantaneous payments based on the ISO20022 standard. This standard provides for near real time payments between accounts held at participating financial institutions in the US. These payments are irrevocable and may include supplementary data directly related to the payment.

Several transaction types are supported beyond the payment (aka Credit Transfer) transaction – for example Request for Payment and Status Request transactions are supported. While instantaneous payments are still nascent in the US, global implementations prove that mature initiatives have gained and maintain traction. There is little doubt that instant payment adoption will accelerate in the US.

Use Cases

Use cases for instantaneous payment span the corporate enterprise. Just a few examples include post-shift compensation pay to workers, AR requests for payment from suppliers and customers, complex inbound and outbound payments with supplemental data allowing for efficient reconciliation, intra- and inter-company account-to-account transfers. In each case the strategic goal for implementing instantaneous payments may be quite different – from enhancing priority in the supply chain, to attracting and maintaining a workforce, to creating efficient internal processes.

The “lift” required to enable instantaneous payment use cases can be as materially different as the resultant benefit – thus, after identifying relevant use cases, the ROI for each needs to be calculated and “soft” benefits need to be considered in order to develop the business’ instantaneous payments strategy. Consideration to the level of effort and benefit for the counter party needs to be part of the prioritization equation.

In the future, it is likely that regional instantaneous payment systems will become inter-operable. When they do, the advantage for cross-border payments becomes significant. Corporates should follow the evolution of instant payment systems in all global regions in which they operate to determine both local and global advantages for emerging use cases.

Intentional Cross-Enterprise Strategy

As is evident from the breadth of possible use cases, it is imperative that Corporates develop an intentional instantaneous payment strategy. To do so it is necessary to convene the leadership team and key stakeholders in every division that is involved in payments. At a minimum (and as relevant), this should include the CFO, Treasury, Tax, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, HR/Payroll, Customer Service, Vendor Relations, and knowledgeable representatives from your financial institution(s).

Consider engaging an external instantaneous payments expert to facilitate the identification and prioritization of relevant use cases. Once the initial strategy hypothesis is defined, vet it with affected internal and external end-users and include their perspective regarding relevance and benefits for them in the final strategic plan.

Only by having a cross-enterprise, detailed view of instantaneous payments opportunities and challenges can you develop an intentional strategy that benefits your company, your vendors/suppliers, your customers, and your workforce.

For more PCN blogs related to instantaneous payments, please see the following links:

Payments in real time and near real time

Payments in real time

Author: Dean Sheaffer, Commercial Director, Payments Consulting Network

Dean Sheaffer is a highly experienced leader in the US payments industry, with over 30 years of expertise. His extensive knowledge encompasses both traditional payment systems and emerging areas like BNPL, open banking (A2A), cryptocurrencies, and real-time payments.


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