The Electronic Payments Network's (EPN) is introducing a minimum remittance information standard which it claims will dramatically improve straight-through processing (STP) for business-to-business (B2B) payments.
The new standard, called EPN 820, defines 10 required data elements - such as customer name, account number, gross invoice amount and amount paid - to be included with the electronic payment. EPN says the 820 standard rationalises the complexity of the existing ANSI 820 payment standard by defining the data required.
EPN says the lack of a single standard format for remittance information has been a major barrier for B2B e-payments. A Federal Reserve study showed that of the 3.9 billion B2B remittance payments each year, only 14% are executed electronically. EPN's own research found that only 32% of electronic payments can be posted automatically.
Commenting on new standard, Rossana Salaris, senior vice president of The Clearing House Payments Company which is responsible for EPN, says the goal was to identify the key data elements that most businesses need to automatically post a payment to its accounts receivable system.
"Most accounts payable and accounts receivable software will be able to reconcile and post from these ten data elements. We're now discussing adoption with the top accounting and cash management software vendors," adds Salaris.
Cash management software company FundTech says it will incorporate the new EPN 820 standard in its next software release.
Paul Campbell, senior vice president, cash management, Fundtech, comments: "Accepting this format as the standard will greatly benefit our clients who otherwise might need to develop customised software."