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Robots should take over wholesale payments

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In 2019, it is rare to find a business category that is still inundated with manual and/or paper-based processes. But so goes the $115 billion wholesale payments space, with approximately 30% of transactions still being handled today by paper checks.

And despite some automation advancements, enterprise payments still involve a complex litany of disparate processes that are burdened by fraud, extraordinary and unnecessary labor costs and substantial errors.

So why the significantly delayed transition from paper to digital payments transactions across the board? Because so many enterprise payments require the precise application of rules, policies and analysis that often necessitate the human touch to transact and approve.
A relatively new but increasingly adopted application—Robotic Process Automation (RPA)—is overhauling enterprise payments processing in a way that maintains the oversight often thought to be found in the old paper-guard by eliminating human effort, errors and fraud that hamper today’s traditional payments processing.

What is Robotic Process Automation? RPA enables businesses to automate mundane, rules-based processes so employees can focus on higher value business functions. In fact, new data from Gartner estimates the RPA market grew more than 63% last year, making it the fastest growing enterprise software category, and RPA software revenue is forecasted to reach $1.3 billion in 2019. The technology is currently being used in a variety of business functions in today’s enterprises, including customer service, marketing and legal.

After having proven itself worthy in these categories, today’s forward-thinking companies are looking to RPA for enterprise payments. This application enables them to integrate their disconnected vendor payment systems, expense management platforms, paper-based payment processes and accounting platforms, to name a few. What was once a byzantine system of human-centric and static batch-file processes can now be fully automated and scalable in real-time, enabling seamless processing across any ERP platform, bank, credit card or currency.

Some companies are using RPA to help create virtual payment solutions that enable them to control employee spending within certain guidelines. Blockchain technology company ConsenSys, for example, uses virtual payment solutions for travel-related expenses. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology allows ConsenSys to solve a major pain point for the company's travelers—the need to put hotel charges on their personal cards and then submit them for reimbursement—while also driving greater adoption of the travel program, better controlling hotel spend and generating far more actionable data.

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