Revolutionising bill payments in Europe: The rise of Request-to-Pay services

Revolutionising bill payments in Europe: The rise of Request-to-Pay services

Tietoevry head of business development, banking Sami Uski has outlined his vision for the future of bill payments in Europe. According to him, Request-to-Pay (RTP) services, triggered by bill payments, are all set to unfold their potential across the continent.

European consumers are already savouring the perks of instant payments via wallet solutions like Swish in Sweden, Vipps in Norway, and services on Finland’s Siirto platform. All these platforms incorporate an underlying RTP infrastructure, which holds a bright promise of transforming future payment services, including bill payments, into a quicker, simpler process.

Electronic invoicing has already made significant strides in enhancing the efficiency and sustainability of bill payments. With the convenience of receiving paperless bills via banking apps or email and paying them online, consumers have adapted well to this digital shift. The next major breakthrough in customer payment convenience and better cashflow management for businesses is the possibility of one-click or automated payment of invoices via RTP services. However, there are some necessary steps to take before this vision becomes a reality.

At the heart of RTP services lies the exchange of data between the payer and the billing organisation, rather than the actual transfer of funds. Unfortunately, most e-invoicing systems currently lack full visibility of the payment process for the billing companies. The missing link between invoice status and funds movement can be established by providing real-time status data through the existing SEPA RTP framework.

Such a transformation would not only increase consumer convenience but also improve liquidity forecasting and working capital management for billing companies. Additionally, by aggregating payment status data, it can pave the way for utilising AI and machine learning to identify payment patterns, prevent fraud, and recognise new product opportunities.

However, the challenge lies in bringing the entire payment ecosystem together to make this model functional. The goal is to ensure that the entire invoicing flow is transparent to the billing company, backed by real-time information, akin to a peer-to-peer transaction between two wallet systems.

Achieving this ambitious goal necessitates the involvement of banks, retailers, insurance companies, and fintech intermediaries. In a bid to make RTP billing a reality, Tietoevry has been chosen as the Leading Company for the NextGenerationEU funded program. The company will run a pilot scheme in Finland called Veturi, which translates to “locomotive” in English. The scheme falls under its 5-year Trusted Digital Societies program, aiming to construct the crucial building blocks for our society.

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