Real-time answers about real-time payments

December 07, 2022

Innovative companies are using real-time payments to accelerate their digital transformation and improve the customer experience. But what makes RTP different? We answer your questions.

This article was originally published as part of Real-time payments: The time is now.

Real-time payments (RTP) offer U.S. businesses the opportunity to send and receive payments at any time of day, any day of the year. The RTP® network allows them to act quickly, improve customer experience and better control their cash.

Offering immediate payments – reducing ‘pending anxiety’ and de-risking money movement – RTP is quickly gaining traction as businesses prioritize speed and convenience when sending and receiving money. In fact, our survey of 1,000 U.S. companies found 56% plan to use real-time payments by the end of 2024.

As with all new innovations, RTP’s early adopters are reaping the rewards first, and questions remain for the rest. Mike Jorgensen, Head of Emerging Solutions at U.S. Bank, has the answers.

 

Why is RTP so significant for U.S. companies, and what problems does it solve for them?

Mike Jorgensen

RTP represents the first new payment rail in the past 40 years. At the moment, the market is rooted in the use of wire, check, ACH and other payment vehicles, with RTP coming to solve a lot of the key problems associated with them.

The big issue it solves is availability. RTP is 24/7 in nature, so you can make and receive payments after hours, on weekends and on holidays. Also, RTP is able to document the transaction and make sure the originator and the receiver understand what the transaction is about. And finally, it creates a connected customer experience. All of a sudden, the consumer’s experience is enhanced because you can work on their timetable, not on the bank's.

Can you describe a key use case for RTP?

The latest generation doesn’t have the patience for waiting for an account to be funded or for transactions to clear.

For example, if there’s a younger person who has opened a brokerage account, they would run headfirst into waiting three to five business days for the account to be funded before a buy could happen. With RTP, the account is funded in real time.

It sounds like RTP can enhance the customer experience

Absolutely. The next generation has grown up with phones in their hands, giving them instant access to anything they want. That’s translating into their buying preferences today. They expect their buying experience to be simple, immediate and frictionless across systems. This includes the ability to make payments and move money in real time.

What do companies need to do to take advantage of RTP?

First, companies need to focus on creating an improved and efficient customer experience. They can’t assume they can do business the way they’ve always done it. The pandemic was a great accelerator of this mindset – contactless payments were preferred over cash or checks.

Second, companies have to decide whether they want to implement RTP by themselves or with a trusted partner, such as a bank or a fintech. Speed to market and creating a seamless experience are key.

Finally, they need to focus on what they want their ideal end-user experience to be. Lithia Motors, for instance, decided it was a competitive advantage to pay the consumer when they picked up the car instead of making them wait for days after the transaction.

Innovation is tough, but what are the risks of not keeping up with payments transformations such as RTP?

At the moment, companies have a fear of missing out, but that will soon turn into the reality of missing out. They will get to a point where they can’t differentiate themselves from their competitors and they won’t have internal efficiencies to give them a better margin. The customer experience is always evolving, so companies have to do everything they can to keep up.

 

We surveyed 1,000 senior finance leaders about the rise of real-time payments and found improved business results for the first wave of early adopters. Gain insights into how innovative companies are using RTP to accelerate their digital transformation in Real-time payments: the time is now.

 

To learn how real-time payments are changing the way companies do business, visit our RTP® resource page or schedule a call with a treasury management expert.

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RTP® is a registered trademark of The Clearing House Payments Company LLC.

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