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Innovative payments developments that should be on treasurers’ radars

Payments is one of the fastest developing areas in the treasurer's remit, and this past week has been no exception with news coming out of both Citi and FIS.

Citi partnership aims to enhance payment initiation and reconciliation

Firstly, Citi Commercial Cards and Corporate Spending Innovations, an Edenred company, have announced a collaboration that is designed to offer frictionless B2B payment solutions to Citi’s clients. The integration brings together Corporate Spending Innovations digital payment capabilities and Citi Commercial Card’s global network to jointly deliver fully integrated end-to-end payment solutions to customers.

With this collaboration, Citi Commercial Card clients, whether leveraging a Visa or Mastercard solution, will have the ability to integrate their virtual cards into Corporate Spending Innovations’ platform. For clients, this should be particularly beneficial for making supplier payments as the platform is connected to a large number of suppliers, including e-commerce and large digital advertising platforms. This solution will allow clients to pay approved invoices via a Citi virtual card in addition to ACH or cheque payments. The platform will serve as both the centralised tool for payment initiation and reconciliation, providing clients with enhanced reporting and reconciliation data, together with greater visibility into their card spend.

By using this platform and moving spend to their card programmes, the bank claims that its clients will increase the overall value of payments processed and will benefit by improving working capital with increased rebates from suppliers. Suppliers should also benefit by receiving fast and secure payments, which are increasingly important in an environment where suppliers’ cash flows have been disrupted by the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"A core element of our strategy is providing our customers with innovative and efficient global payment options," said Gonca Latif-Schmitt, global head of Citi’s Commercial Cards. "This integration with Corporate Spending Innovations will provide new ways for our clients to make streamlined payments to e-commerce suppliers, especially in the digital media and advertising space, leveraging Corporate Spending Innovations’ critical mass with supplier access via Citi’s global network."

The integration will launch in the US first, with Canada and select European markets to follow. It will include access to suppliers across multiple verticals including digital media and advertising, e-commerce and telecommunications, which require complex solutions for managing payment reconciliation.

FIS launches cloud-based payments platform

Elsewhere, financial technology firm FIS has announced RealNet, a cloud-based, software as a service (SaaS) platform that will enable account-to-account (A2A) transactions for businesses, governments and consumers over real-time payment networks.

The FIS RealNet platform is designed to make it easier for organisations across all industries to send, receive and accept payments, whether they are engaging with a consumer or business, or with their own employees. The platform functions as a 'network of networks', using a full range of existing domestic and cross-border payment rails to simplify and speed up the processing, clearing and settlement of payments.

By using a smart-routing decision engine, the platform identifies the fastest, most cost-efficient payments option for a given transaction in real-time - whether ACH, same-day ACH, wires and RTP - and automates the end-to-end process.

"Not only will the RealNet platform speed up payments by helping to enable real-time money movement, but it will also do so in a way that is seamless, reliable and secure for organisations around the globe, said Raja Gopalakrishnan, global head of Real-Time Payments at FIS. "Our vision for RealNet is to help power a real-time economy, regardless of industry, whether business-to-business, business-to-consumer, consumer-to-business, government-to-consumer or anything in-between."

As a cloud-based, SaaS platform, RealNet will use application programming interfaces (APIs) to integrate with other FIS core banking and payments solutions. The new platform is available in the US, and will be followed by UK and Europe, with additional markets expected later this year and beyond.

"The future of payments is increasingly real-time, but we have yet to see it all working together seamlessly nor have we seen corporations make that giant step to catch up to banks," commented Gareth Lodge, Research and Advisory at Celent. "Additionally, each country is moving at a different pace and has various levels of maturity when it comes to leveraging real-time payments as a business norm. RealNet’s network ability to accelerate this change across markets and industries is really exciting. The fact that RealNet will also deliver any payment type through any payment rail, anywhere, is likely to be the game changer and a global first."

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