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Citi rolls out RTP-enabled real time digital bill payments

Source: Citi

Building on its position as the world’s leading instant payments bank, Citi’s Treasury and Trade Solutions (TTS) division now facilitates digital bill payment for both institutional billers and their consumer customers via the RTP network, the real-time payment system from The Clearing House (TCH).

With this capability, Citi’s institutional clients in the U.S. can send electronic bills (e-bills) via Request for Payment (RfP) messages to retail account holders at Citi and other participating banks. Consumers, meanwhile, benefit from the flexibility to pay their bills immediately, at any time of day, 365 days a year, with greater control over their finances to help avoid overdraft fees.

This full end-to-end solution is a first in the U.S., creating benefits for both Citi’s institutional clients and Citi’s consumer customers, while also supporting RfP messages to and from other participating banks within the TCH network.

While the impact of COVID has - and may continue to have for some time - a massive impact on global commerce, it also reinforced the challenges faced by many organizations still reliant on legacy, and often paper-based processes for billing and collecting payments from their customers. Against this backdrop, Citi’s launch of RfP capabilities represents a continued investment into digital-first capabilities in the U.S. and globally, where Citi offers access to domestic real-time payments capabilities in 27 markets.

“Citi is open and ready to support all U.S. billers wishing to use our complete end-to-end solution for sending Request for Payment messages to improve the overall experience for consumers,” said Alberto Casas, North America Head for Payments and Receivables, Citi’s Treasury and Trade Solutions. “As the first bank to offer this capability, and a recognized leader in instant payments, we are thrilled to support the ongoing modernization of the U.S. payment system.”

For institutional billers, RfP capabilities have multiple potential benefits including:

Acceleration of funding of received payments.
Improving straight-through reconciliation and eliminating operational exceptions often associated with ACH direct debits and other traditional payment methods.
Full transparency and real-time visibility into when payments will be settled, helping reduce the need for calls into biller or bank customer service.

“Citi enabling its institutional clients to send RfP messages, and its consumer customers to receive them, is an important step toward making real-time payments ubiquitous in the United States,” said Steve Ledford, Senior Vice President, Product and Strategy at The Clearing House.

Citi was among the initial banks to participate in TCH’s RTP network, the first new payment system in the U.S. in some 40 years, when RTP launched in November 2017. In September, Citi’s U.S. retail bank was the first to be able to receive, display and pay e-bills from participating billers on behalf of Citi account holders by leveraging TCH’s RfP capabilities. This new capability from TTS extends this service to a much larger universe of billers and consumers.

For Citi retail account holders who opt to receive e-bills via RfP, potential benefits include:

Paying their bills immediately at any time of day, 365 days a year. Unlike for transactions made via ACH or paper checks, payments tied to RfPs by design are completed and settled in real-time via the RTP network.
Full control over the timing of each payment, including final say over whether and when to authorize and schedule each payment.

“We are excited to be the first bank with the capability to offer real-time bill payments to our millions of U.S. customers,” said Kate Luft, Head of Retail U.S. Segments and Products at Citi. “This capability further helps to remove friction in the payment process, providing our customers with more options to pay how and when they choose.”

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