Request to Pay is in danger of being an answer without a question, unless the banking and payments ecosystem can come together with the corporate world to identify a killer use case that would encourage mass adoption.
Request to Pay (R2P) made for vibrant discussion on day two of EBAday 2020 which then continued on the final day with panellists discussing the challenges of reachability and adoption.
The banking and payments industry is united around the consensus that R2P holds a great deal of potential in addressing the pain points associated with the present methods of bill presentment and settlement.
However, R2P requires corporate engagement to gain traction. If businesses see the benefits and choose to integrate it into their payment systems, they will gain an advantage over their competitors and encourage wider uptake.
"This comes down to being able to offer specific use cases," says Hubertus von Poser, board member at PPI AG.
"We don't have these yet but they will come. The important thing is that there is a demand for them."
Financial institutions will therefore need to engage further with corporates and consumers about what the primary frictions are in paying bills and managing liquidity.
Trying to usurp direct debits or debit card payments may be folly, as there is trust in both as a means of transacting with little desire to replace them with something else.
A better avenue may be large purchases which may seem too risky for the use of a debit card, such as buying a car. Here a cheque or even cash is often preferred, but these prevents complications and inefficiencies of their own.
Whatever the killer use case, Joanne Towers, head of European payments and cards, global liquidity and cash management for HSBC, believes the key to achieving it is through prioritising user experience.
EBA Clearing's head of service development, Erwin Kruik, agrees, stating that this would create a competitive market for different products and services.
The panellists discussed the importance of standardisation of different R2P-related services in order to nurture wider adoption and attain reachability, linked to matters of security and fraud.
"Corporates will need to know how to recognise a R2P communication or request," says Tulsi Narayan, senior vice president of real-time payments at Mastercard.
"A key aspect to mass adoption is trust."
Joanne Towers believes however that many of the key building blocks are already in place, given the commonality of things like confirmation of payee and two-factor authentication.