B2B Payments

Real Time Heats Up In B2B, While Blockchain Gains Traction

This week’s round-up of the latest innovations in payment rails for B2B payments shows a key focus on real-time transactions and embrace of emerging, faster payment rails.

That includes advancements in Canada's upcoming Real-Time Rail, as well as adoption by Transcard of Mastercard's Track Business Payment Service to facilitate real-time, account-to-account transfers for businesses. Plus, blockchain makes new inroads in the B2B arena.

Canada Taps Vocalink for Real-Time Rail

As Canada gears up to launch its real-time payments system, the Real-Time Rail (RTR), Payments Canada, the entity at the head of the initiative, has announced that Mastercard-owned Vocalink has been chosen as the clearing and settlement solution provider for the new payment rail. The partnership supports Payment Canada's need for RTR to enable ISO 20022 messaging standards and remain in compliance with the Bank of Canada's risk management standards for payment systems, an announcement revealed. Payments Canada President and CEO Tracey Black said RTR will help both businesses and consumers drive long-term economic growth.

Mastercard Adds A2A For Track Business Payment Service

In an expansion of its Track Business Payment Service, Mastercard has announced account-to-account (A2A) capabilities to enable businesses to more seamlessly pay their suppliers with a choice of payment rail. In a conversation with PYMNTS, Mastercard Executive Vice President of Global Commercial and B2B Solutions James Anderson described the importance for Mastercard to develop overlay services on top of existing rails to promote that choice.

"That's an important distinction between what we're doing now and what we think we're going to be doing more of going forward, versus what it took with the card rails," he said. "We started on the process of seriously thinking through what it looks like to add value to transactions, even if you don't control the underlying rails."

Transcard Embraces Track for Real-Time B2B Payments

One of the latest adopters of Mastercard's Track solution is Transcard, which announced its A2A capabilities wielding Mastercard technology. While Track supports a range of payment rails, Transcard highlighted its support of the RTP network as a key value proposition within the context of B2B eCommerce. Through integration with enterprise resource planning (ERP), the A2A solution enables a more seamless B2B payment experience for both buyer and seller while both sides also gain access to rich remittance data, the company noted.

Businesses Drive Australia's NPP Adoption

Australia's New Payments Platform (NPP), its real-time payments rail, continues to gain traction according to the latest figures from the network. According to the NPP's latest Roadmap report, businesses are a key driver of adoption of the payment method. More than 20 percent of A2A transactions in Australia are now done via NPP, and one-in-three involve a business either as a sender or recipient of the payment. Financial institutions (FIs) are increasingly automatically routing transactions that would have once been moved via the Bulk Electronic Clearing System (BECS) Direct Entry to NPP, while businesses are replacing real-time gross settlement (RTGS) transactions with NPP as well, the report noted.

Volante Explores the Real-Time B2B Value Prop

While real-time payment rails are gaining traction, there remains some lack of clarity into exactly how the capability will gain adoption within the B2B payments context. In a conversation with PYMNTS, Volante Head of Market Infrastructures Domenico Scaffidi explored how financial service providers can get creative to understand how businesses will use real-time payments. As he discussed, banks must look beyond speed to find the value proposition. Finserv providers need to understand the "culture shift" that comes with real-time payments, particularly as it relates to the shift from batch to individual transactions. That means opportunities to wield real-time payments for liquidity management, while the payment rails that facilitate real-time transactions are also embracing the movement of data that can be especially valuable to business end users, he said.

Rapyd Combats Fraud Across Payment Rails

In an announcement, FinTech-as-a-Service company Rapyd rolled out its Rapyd Protect solution. The technology is designed to combat fraud for both businesses and customers as an overlay service that operates on top of a range of existing rails. In the announcement, Rapyd identified a growing number of alternative payment methods, including real-time payment networks, that increase demand for fraud mitigation capabilities without forcing customers to change the method with which they make a payment.

TOMIA and Clear Embrace Blockchain for Telecom B2B Payments

As more payment use cases emerge from distributed ledger technology (DLT), some solution providers are looking toward industry-specific applications of blockchain. Two businesses doing so are connectivity optimization firm TOMIA and blockchain settlement and clearing network developer Clear. The companies announced last week their partnership to develop a roaming management, reconciliation and settlement platform designed for the international telecommunications industry. When a telco customer is using roaming data and services while traveling abroad, their telco provider must pay the international provider that facilitates that roaming service. The technology developed by TOMIA and Clear aims to use blockchain to help telcos manage the process of managing roaming deals with each other and facilitating cash flow between businesses, although their announcement did not specify whether the platform will be able to facilitate the actual payment between telcos.

BitPay Debuts BitPay Send

One blockchain company that is wielding the technology to facilitate the movement of funds is BitPay. The crypto FinTech last week rolled out its BitPay Send service, a technology that allows corporations to issue payments to workers, clients, contractors, suppliers and others using digital currency. The solution is designed to facilitate mass payouts and allow businesses to embrace crypto payments without having to purchase, own or manage crypto.

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NEW PYMNTS STUDY: ACCELERATING THE REAL-TIME PAYMENTS DEMAND CURVE – NOVEMBER 2020

About: Accelerating The Real-Time Payments Demand Curve:What Banks Need To Know About What Consumers Want And Need, PYMNTS  examines consumers’ understanding of real-time payments and the methods they use for different types of payments. The report explores consumers’ interest in real-time payments and their willingness to switch to financial institutions that offer such capabilities.

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