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Industry roundup: 24 January

Seamless payment processing via SaaS-based connectivity: Swiss neobank Entris and Bottomline partnership

Swiss-based neobank, Entris Banking AG, announced a partnership with Bottomline Technologies (Bottomline), a financial technology provider that builds complex business payments and makes financial messaging simple and secure. Entris Banking AG, a business process and technology outsourcing provider, chose Bottomline's SaaS-based payment connectivity platform to improve the domestic and international payment experience for customers. Entris Banking acts as a transaction bank and payment hub to over forty Swiss-based small and medium-sized banking groups. The collaboration between Entris Banking and Bottomline will help Switzerland’s international payment systems support and steer the path of digital transformation.

With the new SaaS-based platform, Entris Banking will enhance customer onboarding and user experience and will improve back-office operations in addition to domestic SIC/SECOM and cross-border SWIFT connections. Some of the benefits offered through the partnerships include centralized data intelligence and control, increased efficiency and improved risk management solutions. Juerg Gutzwiller, CEO, Entris Banking, commented that the move to Bottomline's SaaS-based payment connection platform will be an important step forward in Switzerland’s payment industry. Furthermore, Gutzwiller stated that Bottomline’s modular technology, comprehensive support and experience with international payments will enable Entris Banking to provide customers with an efficient payment centre such as the introduction of immediate payments in Switzerland. Daniel Bardini, Managing Director of Financial Messaging Switzerland, Bottomline, commented that in addition to providing innovative technology solutions to clients, Bottomline’s main goals are to help simplify payment processes and provide customers the independence to focus on their business strategies and growth.

BSP publishes a guide on ePayments

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) announced that it has adopted guidelines for processing electronic payments (ePayments) under the National Retail Payment System (NRPS) regulatory framework. Benjamin Diokno, Governor, BSP, commented that the new procedures will maintain the current requirements that apply to immediate one-time payments, while introducing new provisions related to batch electronic payment settlement processing. These new guidelines aim to enhance credit and payment risk management for batch settlement processing of electronic payments.

BSP stated that central banks regulated by financial institutions participating in Automated Clearing House (ACH) services and established under the NRPS, such as InstaPay and PESONet, and each of the ACH settlement Clearing Switch Operators (CSO), are required to adhere to the settlement guidelines. One of the key provisions is that clearing participants are required to maintain a separate savings account (DDA) for each type of settlement mechanism. Additionally, BSP stated that CSOs that use batch settlement processing of electronic payments need to enable clearing participants to efficiently monitor the validity of their DDA balances for each settlement payment cycle.

Mastercard activates a virtual card for immediate B2B payments

Mastercard has announced a virtual card product to pay supplier invoices instantaneously using machine learning and straight-through processing. According to Mastercard, slow and inefficient payment processes will continue to disrupt businesses, impair supplier cash flows and prove time consuming for buyers. Other payment methods, such as ACH, require buyers to protect sensitive information in their bank accounts, adding another layer to the complexity. Mastercard’s Track Instant Pay will enable suppliers to securely and logically approve immediate payments to the supplier once the invoice is submitted.

With machine learning, invoices are analysed, and rejected ones are identified immediately. Furthermore, the remaining invoices are ready for payment authorization on the same day received. Additionally, straight-through processing enables digital payments to be sent directly to the supplier's bank account via Virtual Mastercard with no manual intervention required. Ron Shultz, EVP of North American New Payment Flows, Mastercard, commented that Track Instant Pay helps buyers and suppliers solve issues such as delayed payments by automating the manual payment process and freeing up valuable time, working capital and choices.

According to Mastercard’s schematic below, payments and data move in a streamlined and paralleled method.

The main benefits of Mastercard Track Instant Pay are:

  • Suppliers: Mastercard Track Instant Pay enables suppliers to improve cash flow, free working capital and reinvest in their businesses by accelerating payments. Immediate payments eliminate the costs associated with tracking the collection of unpaid invoices and provide comprehensive remittance information for each payment, simplifying reconciliation.
  • Buyers: Potential buyers can increase their revenue by increasing acceptance and converting high-value checks and ACH payments into virtual cards that generate discounts. Additionally, automating manual processes can help reduce costs, speed up payments, eliminate friction and improve business relationships. Buyers will be able to manage their working capital more efficiently by using the credit line associated with their corporate card account. An exclusive virtual account number with control layers is automatically generated for enhanced security parameters for supplier payments.
  • Issuers: Mastercard Track Instant Pay helps issuers expand the scope of their virtual card programs to meet the growing demand while gaining competitive advantages.

Mastercard Track Instant Pay is currently available in the United States and will be expanding internationally. Mastercard continues to recruit partners as part of their mission to modernize business payments.

New cybersecurity measures reinforced by the UK to minimize online threats

The UK is considering new steps to increase the resiliency of UK companies' cybersecurity. This move is part of the £ 2.6 billion national cyber strategy after a high-profile cyber threat. The new legislation will help raise security standards for outsourced IT services used by nearly all UK companies, according to the UK government. In addition, they have issued a report that provides suggestions on improved cybersecurity reporting by organizations.

As technological transformations continue to evolve, the UK government is responding quickly to stay on the same pace by proposing legislative changes to increase flexibility in the cyber space. Recommendations have been provided to empower the UK Cybersecurity Council to develop specific qualifications and accreditations to equip businesses with qualified and skilled cybersecurity professionals to protect their businesses online.

The proposed strategic plans were initiated subsequent to the cyberattacks on SolarWinds and Microsoft Exchange Servers that exploited vulnerabilities in third-party products and services. In addition, only 12% of organizations review cybersecurity risks coming from direct suppliers, and 5% of organizations address broader supply chain vulnerabilities, according to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Research Survey.

Julia Lopez, Minister of State for media, data and digital infrastructure, stated that the new cybersecurity plans will protect critical services and the economy as a whole from cyber threats. In order for organizations to increase, innovate and maintain people's online security, all UK organizations must adhere to the cyber security recommendations to remain resilient.

In addition, the UK government has begun consultations to revise the Network and Information Systems (NIS) regulations, including suggestions on:

  • Expanding the scope of NIS regulations to include managed services. These are typically provided by businesses that manage IT services on behalf of other organizations.
  • Requiring large companies to provide better cyber incident reports to regulators such as Ofcom, Ofgem, and ICO. This includes the requirement to notify regulators of all cybersecurity attacks that affect the service.
  • Providing the government the ability to guarantee the NIS regulations by updating them and including additional organizations in the future, which provide critical support to essential services.
  • Transferring all relevant costs incurred by regulators for enforcing the NIS regulations from the taxpayer to the organizations covered by the legislation to build a more flexible financial system and reduce the burden on taxpayers.
  • Updating the regulatory administration to require the economy's most important digital service providers to proactively demonstrate Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) compliance with NIS regulations and a lenient approach to the rest of the digital providers.

Dr Ian Levy, Technical Director, National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), stated that the proposed updates to NIS regulations will help improve the overall resilience of UK cybersecurity. The procedures will enable organizations to appropriately manage cybersecurity risks more effectively.

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