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Industry roundup: 28 May

BNY Mellon launches real-time digital bill payment solution

BNY Mellon has announced that it has launched a real-time electronic bill (e-bill) and payment solution. Displacing the inefficient and antiquated process historically used to handle the majority of the 15 billion bills paid in the US annually, this capability aims to enable US businesses to present digital bills to their clients in real-time and receive instant payment via the clients' preferred online and mobile banking channels.

Businesses can leverage real-time integrated messaging through application programming interfaces (APIs) to provide instant, end-to-end straight-through processing from bill-presentment to payment to reconciliation. Banks can also leverage this solution for their own clients via BNY Mellon's white-label offering. These e-bills will be sent over the RTP network operated by The Clearing House. 

The bank says that the advantages for billers include higher straight-through processing levels, faster collections, simplified reconciliation, increased transparency and lower costs. Their clients gain greater convenience, transparency and control of their cash flow. Additionally, e-bill technology represents an advance in efforts to protect the environment, diminishing the negative impacts of paper-based processes.

"Innovation in the bill-pay space is long overdue, and BNY Mellon's e-bill solution is the transformative technology that will drive this change and improve the client experience," said Mike Bellacosa, global head of Payments and Transaction Services for Treasury Services at BNY Mellon. "Our early-adoption and leadership in real-time payments and comprehensive digital payables and receivables uniquely positions us to immediately support clients' digital-billing needs, providing both e-bill and instantaneous payment capability."


SARB commences feasibility study for a general-purpose retail CBDC

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has embarked on a study to investigate the feasibility, desirability and appropriateness of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) as electronic legal tender, for general-purpose retail use, complementary to cash. A retail CBDC can be defined as a digital form of cash aimed at providing the best attributes of both cash and electronic payments.

The objective of the feasibility study is to consider how the issuance of a general- purpose CBDC will feed into the SARB’s policy position and mandate. The SARB is one of a growing number of central banks looking at the feasibility of the issuance of digital currencies.

The study will focus on the issuance of a domestic CBDC that can be used by consumers in South Africa for general retail purposes. The feasibility study will include practical experimentation across different emerging technology platforms, taking into account a variety of factors, including policy, regulatory, security and risk management implications. It should be noted that while the CBDC feasibility study is different from Project Khokha, which focuses on the settlement of high-value transactions between commercial banks and other stakeholders at the wholesale level, it is expected that the two studies will result in better policy alignment and coordination.

The CBDC feasibility study is expected to be concluded in 2022. The SARB has, at this stage, made no decision to issue a retail CBDC.


PwC joins GRI Global Standards Fund

Multinational professional services network PwC has joined the GRI Global Standards Fund. The Fund enables the continued independent and multi-stakeholder development of the world’s most widely used sustainability reporting standards, and their access as a free public good. It also ensures the GRI Standards reflect ever-increasing stakeholder and societal expectations for responsible business conduct, including the creation of new Sector Standards.

The Global Standards Fund seeks support from governments, corporates, philanthropic foundations and individuals who share a belief in the power of sustainability reporting to affect change through transparency. PwC will help the Fund support the crucial yet resource intensive work to deliver and update the GRI Standards, under the Global Sustainability Standards Board Terms or Reference and free from external influence. 

"PwC believes that the GRI Standards will play a major role in the coming transformation to a more sustainable economy," said Nadja Picard, partner and global reporting leader at PwC. "PwC is committed to design solutions that improve prosperity, health and equality, including working with standard setters to ensure higher quality corporate reporting."


Nacha launches Faster Payments Professional certificate programme

Nacha, in conjunction with the Payments Innovation Alliance and the Payments Associations, has announced the creation of the Faster Payments Professional certificate programme. It is designed to provide payments professionals a holistic view of faster payments, including current offerings - such as Same Day ACH and RTP - relevant standards, legal perspectives and more, while providing those who complete the programme with additional expertise in these areas.  

Nacha and the payments associations have helped train more than 4,300 ACH Accredited Professionals (AAPs), and nearly 500 Accredited Payments Risk Professionals (APRPs), a recently launched programme for professionals who want to demonstrate their expertise in payments system risk across all payment types.

The Payments Innovation Alliance, which launched the Faster Payments Playbook - in conjunction with the US Faster Payments Council - to help financial institutions of all sizes navigate the faster payments landscape, is made up of diverse stakeholders that bring industry experience and expertise to designing the FPP certificate programme.

"In just a few years, we’ve seen the successful implementation and adoption of a number of faster payments channels, including Same Day ACH and RTP," said Stephanie Prebish, AAP, CTP, Nacha’s managing director, Association Services. "With other innovations on the horizon, it is important for payments professionals to have a course of study to help them learn and then demonstrate their expert knowledge in this dynamic area."

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