UniCredit is preparing for the roll out of instant payment services to customers in Italy and Germany as it commences testing of EBA Clearing's RT1 real-time platform.
The Italian bank plans to complete testing and introduce the first wave of services in November, in line with deadlines stipulated by the European Payments Council's Sepa Instant Credit Transfer ("SCT Inst") Scheme.
Jan Kupfer, global co-head of transaction banking at UniCredit, comments: "By providing our customers with payments facilities 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with payers notified of a successful transaction within seconds, we will greatly enhance the effectiveness of our services and increase customer trust. Widespread adoption and new, value-added services that optimise the customer experience will only serve to increase the benefits."
UniCredit is among the 39 funding institutions enabling the development of the new EBA Clearing infrastructure, which will provide a pan-European, real-time payment processing engine working 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Hays Littlejohn, CEO of EBA Clearing, says: "At present, close to 30 financial institutions are planning to connect to RT1 in November while another 70 banks are preparing to join in 2018."
For UniCredit the go-live is seen as an important element in its internal digital transformation programme. The distressed lender is cutting thousands of jobs and closing hundreds of branches in a bid to realise EUR1.1 billion in savings. As part of this, EUR1.6 billion is being pumped into IT investments, including "digitalisation activities" and core system updates designed to smooth the transition to online and mobile-centric services.
Says Kupfer: "UniCredit's ongoing digital transformation programme will be a further beneficiary of our connection to the new instant payments infrastructure."