Request to pay: the future of payments

RTP is an emerging payment technology and is a core capability of the Bluechain platform. According to Payments UK (A Vision for World Class Payments in the UK), RTP is one of the four cornerstone technologies of the future of payments. And Ecommerce Europe (The Request to Pay Revolution) considers that RTP is a game-changer for the global ecommerce industry.

So what is RTP?

An RTP is an electronic invoice (a “request to pay”), typically sent to the customer’s phone app, which includes both the invoice details and a way to make a payment. In every payment scenario, RTP gives customers increased choice and greater control over the security, timing, and method of payment, including the ability to:

    • Confirm the biller’s details
    • View details about the request
    • Accept or reject the request
    • Choose when to pay
    • Make a partial payment
    • Schedule a payment for a future date
    • Set up a recurring payment
    • Enable automatic payment within a defined limit
    • Choose or change their payment method

Read the whitepaper

Get paid faster

Because it is so convenient, the customer is more likely to schedule or pay your RTP straight away. For regular payments like utility bills, rent, and subscriptions, customers set up automatic payment rules, which schedule payments on the due date without any interaction. Either way, the customer is less likely to postpone or forget about payment, which means you get paid faster.

Simple, error-free payments

There’s no need to enter any payment details or worry about errors. The customer simply approves the payment on their phone with their choice of payment method. They can even set up an autopayment (like a direct debit) in the app and set the authorization limit for each biller.

Your customers will love it

RTP is great for customer service. RTP puts control back into the customers hands, giving them the ability to reschedule or select a different card or bank account at any time. RTP not only reduces the workload on your collections team, it also promotes customer loyalty and gives you a competitive edge.

Forget direct debits

Unlike direct debits, with RTP, customers don’t have to worry about dishonour fees or changing their payment details. If there are insufficient funds available for the selected payment method, the customer simply selects a different card or bank account to make the payment. And if they need to change account details, they just update the details right there on their phone.

Get greater visibility

With every other type of payment, you don’t know that your customer is paying until the cash hits your account. Even then, it may take days for the payment to be reconciled to the bill. An RTP, however, tells you in real time when your customer rejects, schedules or pays their invoice. This makes collections far more efficient, requiring less people to do a better job. And with an early view of your customer’s intent to pay, you’ll get more accurate forecasts of your cash flow, helping you to better manage your own payments.

Focus your efforts

By reducing the workload on your collections team, they can now focus on customers who have ignored or rejected the RTP. And when a customer promises to pay on a particular date, you know immediately whether they have scheduled the payment in the app. Your collections not only get cheaper, but also a hell of a lot faster.

Reduce your overheads

In addition to reducing your cost of collections, RTP will have a positive impact on many other areas of your business. Improved efficiencies in order fulfilment, service delivery, accounts, compliance, and fraud prevention have the potential to significantly reduce your operating costs.

Order fulfilment and service delivery

Delivering products or services is more efficient if you can plan around known payments. Orders can be prepared ahead of time for dispatch, and service delivery can be scheduled in to optimize service to customers and operational efficiency.

Invoice reconcilation

An RTP issued by your systems to your customer includes your unique reference. This invoice number or code will enable automated matching and reconciliation in your accounts. The customer doesn’t rekey this data so there are no issues with mistyped references and matching errors.

Data protection and compliance

Payments data is sensitive information. The more information you store about your customer, the greater risk you carry if that data leaks or is stolen. RTP keeps the payment data with the payer, so the supplier never needs to store credit card numbers, bank accounts or other sensitive data. This cuts the overheads associated with data protection and compliance.

APP fraud

The customer is protected by the RTP because the payment request is from a known entity that is registered in the system. Unlike paper or email invoices that can be altered by man-in-the-middle attacks, the RTP is immune to authorized push payments fraud.

A typical RTP payment

Karen uses Teltek for her home internet and mobile phone plan, which is billed monthly. The internet cost is static at $49 per month, and her mobile bills typically range from $30 to $60 per month, depending on usage.

  1. Teltek sends a bill to Karen by RTP to the Bluechain app on Karen’s smartphone. The RTP includes Karen’s customer number reference, the exact bill amount ($82.50), and the due date (20/12/2020).
  2. Karen taps the notification on her phone, which opens the Bluechain app. By tapping on the request, she can see the bill details, including the $49 for internet usage and $33.50 for phone use, including $3.50 for an international call.
  3. Karen has her bank account, Visa debit card and American Express credit card loaded in the app. She schedules the bill for payment on the due date using her bank account and authorizes the payment.
  4. Karen receives confirmation that the payment is scheduled. At this point, Teltek knows that Karen has scheduled the payment for 20/12/2020. On the same screen, there is a button to set up automatic payments.
  5. Karen taps on automatic payments and sets up a rule for Teltek bills for the next month. She chooses which account she wants to pay from (which, unlike direct debits, can be a credit card) and sets the authorization limit at $110 for Teltek.
  6. A month later, Teltek issues a new RTP to Karen for $102.75. Karen receives a notification on the due date that she has insufficient funds in her account. She taps on the request and selects to pay it immediately using her American Express card. In this case, a direct debit on Karen’s account would have failed. Her bank would have charged a dishonour fee, and Teltek would have needed to contact Karen to organize an alternate method of payment, delaying the payment by days or even weeks, and taking up the collections team’s valuable time.

This typical scenario demonstrates how RTP delivers convenience and flexibility to payments to provide excellent customer service while helping to ensure that there are no delays in payment, even when a problem occurs.