Instant payments drive new opportunities for growth and differentiation

Early adopters can help their businesses achieve success with strong use cases, interoperable technology, and the right providers

With RTPs and FedNow joining Zelle, push-to-card, and Same Day ACH, businesses and consumers have more options than ever for moving funds with immediate, 24 x 7 x 365 availability. Leading organizations are seizing the moment and becoming early adopters of one or more instant payment methods. 

Making the move is well worth the effort. Using instant payments for a portion of your payables, receivables, or inter-company money movement can be a game-changer.

Transform your organization with 24 x 7 x 365 transactions

Instant payments offer many potential benefits:

  • Digital efficiency and convenience
  • Stronger customer, supplier, and employee experiences
  • Improved liquidity management
  • Faster, easier reconciliation

Instant payments are key to a modern, seamless experience that can improve productivity for treasury staff and differentiate your organization in a competitive market place.

Four opportunities to capitalize on instant payments

As you move forward, it’s important to recognize the key elements that will differ with instant payments, compared to traditional methods like cash, checks, and cards. Getting up to speed on RTPs, FedNow, or push-to-card may come with a learning curve for staff, new providers to manage, and a need to update internal workflows, controls, and systems.

Involving your bank early—for education, best practices, and guidance on integration—can help you streamline adoption and create a solution that meets your company’s specific needs.

Opportunity 1: Understand the instant payments landscape

With so much innovation in the instant payments market, there’s now a method for almost all U.S. dollar (domestic) scenarios; several platforms even support large payments of up to $1 million per transaction. But, the requirements and limits do vary by provider and network.

Start by learning the enrollment requirements for your desired payees, as well as the reach of your financial institution’s network. Not all banks, for example, are ready to offer or accept methods like RTPs, FedNow, or Zelle. Working with a large, national provider can not only keep you up-to-date on the latest enhancements, it can greatly expand your access to your target customers and payees. 

Opportunity 2: Adopt one instant payment method, then grow

Few businesses will need all instant payment methods—particularly in the early stages of adoption. To make the right choice for your organization, first identify your most valuable use cases. 

For example, do you need to: 

  • Pay suppliers “on demand” for goods? 
  • Accept time-sensitive payments from customers? 
  • Consolidate funds for greater liquidity management? 
  • Embed payments within your SaaS product?

Once you outline your objectives, you can start small with a single method, then scale up as you demonstrate results. What’s important at the outset is working with a resource that know the options and can help you access them as easily as possible. 

Opportunity 3: Deploy interoperable technology

The flexibility, convenience, and digital information that come with instant payments can truly transform a business—without adding unnecessary workload for accounts receivable or accounts payable staff. Achieving this goal means working with the right technology. 

APIs, for example, provide a simple way for your ERP, accounting platform (or even your customer website or SaaS product) to interact with your instant payments provider or bank. APIs reduce the need to log into various systems; in many cases, you can accomplish your task within a single interface. 

Intelligent routing capabilities are another great idea. This solution will enable you to send a single payment file or API call to the bank, then use powerful decisioning capabilities to automatically match each transaction to the most appropriate payment method. Your bank then issues the payments on your behalf, freeing your team for more strategic activities.

Opportunity 4: Mitigate your risk

Savvy businesses recognize that as the speed and efficiency of money movement evolves, their internal processes and controls will also need updates. Fortunately, most platforms—especially those run by banks—offer numerous built-in safeguards.

What’s critical for additional risk management is strengthening the review and approval steps within your organization. 

Use these best practices for peace of mind:

  • Institute dual controls on instant payments
  • Set clear guidelines on when it’s appropriate to use instant payments
  • Build safeguards into your processes
  • Conduct regular training for staff

Making sure you pay the right person or business in the right amount becomes even more essential when those transactions occur with finality. 

Smooth your transition with the right resources

Businesses, consumers, banks, and fintechs all see great potential for instant payments. Reducing the time and effort required to send and receive funds creates a significant opportunity to strengthen your cash flow, improve your control, and delight your users. 

As your business moves ahead, start by sharing your ideas with your bank. Having the right team, tools, and technology in place will smooth your transition and improve your outcomes. The sooner you begin your journey, the faster you can realize the many benefits of instant payments.