New Year’s resolution: It’s prime time for real time

January 25, 2021

The adoption of real-time payments is on the rise, accelerated by consumer demand, a growing number of industry collaborations and continued momentum spurred in part by the global pandemic. More than 50 countries have begun their real-time payments journey, and in the US well over 100 financial institutions are participating —bringing the viability to an exciting tipping point.

Your kids, friends, and yes, your customers already believe they should be able to send and receive ALL payments immediately — we can thank the proliferation of p2p apps and digital wallets for this relatively new expectation. Perhaps you knew this tipping point was coming and you may have even had real time payments on your ‘to do’ list last year. Understandably, 2020 called for shifting roadmaps. But with many factors coming together, it’s prime time to get this done in 2021.

You may be thinking… “Is this new year’s resolution worth my resolve?” Establishing new payments programs requires diligence, process change, and realistic and measurable objectives.

We predict that 2021 will prove that this is more than just a lucrative trend and it’s simply not going out of style. For any business to business or business to consumer payment where liquidity and cash flow matter, real time will solve a multitude of complexities we can all be happy to leave in the past.

Here are some tips as you navigate into the next generation of faster digital payments.

1. Start at the beginning. Before you start sharing potential benefits with your stakeholders or jump to an answer, make sure you understand options and can define the bigger purpose and role of real-time payments for your company. What pain points do your users or even internal operations have? What strategic and economic benefits might this bring? Seek advice and help evaluating the increasingly advanced offerings.

  • Set a goal and timeframe strictly around information gathering to ensure you can make the right decisions which will drive progress in 2021.

2. Leverage partners, both internally and externally. Providers can bring valuable insights to help inform and develop your roadmap. Ensure you also collaborate across internal departments. Chances are colleagues across functions are interested and invested in the opportunities that real time payments can bring. A multifaceted strategy can bring more value to your ‘case for change’.

  • Decide upfront who is in your task force, collect their inputs, and agree to your intended outcomes and time frames.

3. Document and memorialize objectives, including business motivation and priorities. It’s no revelation that real-time payments are proven to reduce costs, drive top line revenue, and improve user experiences - but look beyond the spreadsheet. Change always has an upfront cost, but the return on investment will be found in more places than just the bottom line. Amongst the many insights we have from 2020, it has never been more apparent that digitally innovative companies win (and weather storms) across sectors

  • Enumerate and socialize the benefits, both quantitative and qualitative, for your company.

4. Create a vision and an execution plan. What are the outcomes you will drive and more tactically, what are the business requirements and solutions you will offer? What executive support and funding do you need to garner the attention and expertise needed to pull this off? Most of us have encountered the traditional stumbling blocks of implementing new payment initiatives - often attributed to lack of budget or resources. Think creatively about your pitch and remember this isn’t the latest fad. Case studies, best practices, and examples exist.

  • Define the criteria and metrics by which success will be evaluated and ensure you are appropriately supported to achieve intended outcomes.

5. Test and assess your proof of concept. Real time feedback (pun intended) and a mechanism to evolve and adapt your approach couldn’t be more important as you plan your rollout. Successful implementations can be influenced by a number of factors: communications, user experience and thoughtful pricing are consistent themes around highly adopted programs.

  • Assess and share results. Celebrate the progress made and adjust the roadmap as necessary.

You can do this – let’s change how money moves!

About the Author
Ginny Chappell, SVP Group Executive, FIS Global Real-Time Payments
Ginny ChappellSVP Group Executive, FIS Global Real-Time Payments

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