Slow Real-Time Payments Adoption in US Holds Back B2B Commerce

The Clearing House - Real-Time Payments - August 2022 - Learn how companies are turning real-time payments misperceptions into true benefits

The “Real-Time Payments Tracker,” a collaboration between PYMNTS and The Clearing House, found that B2B buyers and sellers have a lot to gain from an instant payments rail — and a lot to lose if the United States doesn’t catch up to the rest of the world.

According to the report, 53% of U.S. businesses said cash flow management improves when transmitting real-time payments, for example, and 33% reported improved transparency in their payment processes.

Still, the study noted, the U.S. is lagging other countries. That’s disconcerting to Leo Lipis, CEO of Lipis Advisors, a payments industry consultancy, who told PYMNTS that it could take as many as five years for the country to catch up.

“An email takes 10 seconds to get anywhere in the world, to say nothing of a text message or a video call to your relatives anywhere around the world,” he said. “The fact that payments were still taking a day or two — or longer if you were sending a check through the mail — simply [isn’t] up to modern expectations.”

And slow adoption is more than just a hassle for B2B commerce, where consumer-grade innovations haven’t caught on as quickly and companies still pay each other via check and automated clearing house (ACH). In an interview with PYMNTS, Elena Whisler, senior vice president of sales and relationship management at The Clearing House, outlined several key benefits of wider real-time payments adoption:

  • Faster payroll processes. “Many workers can now instantly access earned wages via the RTP network, which helps them pay bills and reduce financial anxiety,” she said.
  • Easier invoicing. “Businesses are leveraging the request for payment functionality to send invoices to customers and trading partners to expedite payments.”
  • Smoother real estate deals: “Title insurance companies during the mortgage closing process are using the RTP network to instantly transfer funds, which reduces friction in [this] process.”

“The most exciting things we are seeing in the world of real-time payments are the variety of ways … businesses and financial institutions are utilizing the RTP network to solve real-world problems,” Whisler said.

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