U.S. banks see more interest in real-time payments

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For real-time payments to become a standard in U.S. billing and payment processing, businesses have to want what providers are developing. And that acceptance, or the interest in having an RTP option, is on the rise.

Nine of 10 businesses responding to Citizens Commercial Banking's annual Real-Time Payments Outlook survey indicated they are interested in a RTP network. A nationwide survey of 252 corporate decision-makers found that only 9% currently have no plans to implement the RTP upgrade to the U.S. payments system.

"I'm encouraged to see the level of interest in real-time payments because it offers such tremendous advantages to businesses in terms of speed and certainty of payments," Matt Richardson, head of product solutions at Providence, R.I.-based Citizens Commericial, said in a Tuesday press release.

The Clearing House launched the RTP network in the U.S in late 2017, calling it the most significant upgrade to the country's payments system since the Automated Clearing House debuted in 1974.

A bank's ability to provide RTP to its customers was cited by survey respondents as the second-most important factor in choosing a banking partner, ranking right behind a bank's ability to provide solutions throughout their business lifecycle.

Citizens noted that RTP solutions ranked as a more important service for banks to provide than knowledge or expertise in the business' industry or offering the lowest-cost financing.

In terms of how they would use RTP, 52% of respondents said they would use the system to monitor and manage cash flow more accurately, and 46% would use it to conduct general accounts payable activities. Those two choices ranked slightly higher than using RTP for payroll, facilitating payments requiring immediate receipt, and improving collection activity and posting. Only 38% indicated they would use RTP to replace check payments.

"The pandemic has disrupted many businesses and exposed the downsides to relying on paper payments," Richardson said. "We will continue to support omni-channel solutions and serve our clients however they need us."

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Real-time payments Faster payments The Clearing House Association