As we get ready to enter the fourth quarter, naturally our attention turns toward 2023, our organization's plans, and what the industry's payments evolution means for our annual goals and budgets. With so much happening in the next calendar year, pinpointing where to prioritize and focus resources comes with its share of challenges, one of which is aligning plans with that of core providers.'
Because of the significant role they play in technology implementations and integrations, for many NEACH members, core providers serve as a central piece of technology strategy. Given that deep interconnect, we decided to sit down with five of the main providers in New England and get insights into their areas of focus and what they have in store for their customers. While they have differing viewpoints on certain subjects and each have individualized approaches and products in development, across the board, core providers agreed on the following four key points:
- Real-time and instant payments have become a requirement. While most financial institutions' customers aren't knocking on their doors demanding immediate payments, data tells the story of their growing importance. Recent Federal Reserve research concluded that nearly 80% of consumers are interested in leveraging faster payments to pay businesses, another 60% want a real-time view of their account balance and immediate posting of payments, and 70% say having access to enhanced faster payment capabilities is an important satisfaction driver. What's more, The Clearing House's RTP® reported2 million transactions and $18 billion in volume for Q2 2022, up 12% and 15% respectively over Q1.
"RTP volumes continue to grow, and the belief is that FedNow will rapidly accelerate the ubiquity of instant payments," said Maria Schuld, SVP, Banking Solutions, FIS. "Instant payments will be a standard requirement from many customer segments, and FIs need to be ready to fill that service need in order to retain their customers or attract new ones."
- It's time to act on enabling real-time and instant payments. With FedNowSM announcing plans for mid-year 2023 availability, financial institutions need to first understand the opportunity and then get in the queue to enable this solution and/or RTP sooner than later. Core providers can help on both fronts.
"With real-time payments, it's not a matter of 'if' our banks and credit unions will offer and/or need this to stay competitive, it's a matter of 'when,'" said Jill Flaherty, Vice President, Business Development, COCC. "The biggest component of preparation typically starts with the education around instant payments and what it means. General use case scenarios, as well as proven success amongst COCC clients on the RTP network, have been extremely helpful with educating those on the fence."
"Finastra suggests that FIs start preparation by focusing on three main things: 1. Identify and prioritize the use cases to initially launch the service in terms of business and/or retail scenarios – specifically credit, request to pay, or receive incoming payments; 2. Ensure the settlement processes are prepared for the core system (posting); and 3. Ensure current or select new partners and vendors are experienced in immediate payments and are prepared to help the FI through the journey," shared Kirsten Lemke, Managing Director, Payments – Americas, Finastra.
- The FinTech revolution has driven an evolution in API-based banking. Beyond immediate payments, each of the core providers spoke about the role FinTechs will play in enabling FIs to create a better customer experience. While in the past, many cores tried to restrict offerings to in-house solutions, they have come to the realization that allowing FIs to partner with other organizations will be essential moving forward.
"We recognize now more than ever that whether you're a financial institution, merchant, or FinTech, a lot of the work you're going to be doing to integrate and create beautiful digital journeys for your customers is going to require development of and access to APIs, along with integration into different types of card, payment, and core banking systems," said Sunil Sachdev, SVP, Head of Community Bank and FinTech and Growth, Fiserv. "Over the past few years as the API economy has gained steam with the increased utilization of the digital channel, we've recognized that the developer community is critical to enabling these universal experiences."
That said, the trick is ensuring that the right tools-from app stores for developers to open infrastructure to technology support-are available to facilitate integrations. Working with core providers will be key to ensuring smooth technology engagements and upgrades.
- Cryptocurrency, as a payment type, is not ready for mass adoption, but it has future potential. For the FIs who want to dip their toes in, cryptocurrency providers offer the custodial responsibility of buy-hold-sell capabilities, which reduces risk and limits liabilities for a bank or credit union. However, while interest in cryptocurrency continues to climb, its applicability in the payments space is still emerging. That means we're on a wait-and-see trajectory with if and how it will integrate into payments infrastructure.
"It's all very speculative," said Tede Forman, President, Payment Solutions at Jack Henry™. "I think financial institutions will wait and see until the regulations and the rulemakers mature to a state where an FI can safely offer the service to the customer. We're closely monitoring the space, and we're ready to act and allow plug into our open platform once the risk tolerance is understood by our customers. In the meantime, financial institutions wanting to offer these capabilities sooner can work with providers through our Toolkit, which is made publicly available on jackhenry.dev, to easily embed them in their digital banking experience."
While these themes transcended each of our conversations, core providers offered individualized details that will support financial institution planning. Check out the Q&A conversations we had with each of them through the links below:
In addition, NEACH will be offering updates and discussions on these developments via our Innovating Payments site in Members Corner, and we are hosting the Future of Payments Symposium, a virtual event on December 1, to address these and other forward-looking topics. We hope you'll join us to stay abreast of the latest developments before the new year, and to dive deeper into the trends that are shaping payments now and into the future.
AUTHOR: Joe Casali, AAP, NCP
Executive Vice President
As the EVP of Payments Innovation for NEACH, Joe focuses on exploring innovative solutions and technologies that will help position members for success, both now and in the future. Connect with Joe to read more of his blogs, articles, and posts.