Growing Payments Ecosystem Poses New Challenges for Corporate Treasurers


Growth in the payments ecosystem shows no sign of slowing down, particularly when we consider the predicted future level of volume and value of domestic and cross border payments. In fact McKinsey in their 2019 Global Payments Map Report predicts that the payments market will surpass $2.7 trillion in revenues by 2023.

These numbers are being fuelled by technological advances creating a myriad of new payment rails and customer choices to rival, and complement, traditional payment rails.

Given this trend, treasury departments across all industries may face a significant increase in future operational costs of processing payments. In fact, it was revealed at the recent Association of Financial Professionals 2019 event that increasing the efficiency of both payment processes and achievement of overall operational costs efficiencies are amongst corporate treasurers’ core objectives for 2020 and beyond.

Allied to these objectives, treasury management systems and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are rapidly evolving to meet these objectives. The increasing number of payment channels now available to corporate treasurers is also increasing the complexity of integration into operational processes. It’s more important than ever for corporates to maintain the quality of payment information held in bank master data records to ensure payments aren’t just faster, but smarter.

With access to more relevant, current and accurate data, organisations can better understand a customer’s unique requirements. This enables the organisation to provide a more tailored payments service that maximises customer experience and adds ‘stickiness’ to client relationships. The reward for achieving this difficult balance is an enduring and profitable business relationship with their customer.

Ongoing Challenges

Corporate treasurers also need to keep abreast of payment market advancements and to understand the applicability to their own organisation’s operations – as well as to the wider organisation.

Following is feedback we have received from customers on some of the challenges keeping them up at night:

  • Certainty of payment – The event of real-time payments, domestic faster payments networks and fintech payment innovations enabled by regulation – such as by PSD2 (Open Banking) – is shortening payment times and has reduced some of the pressure of liquidity availability on the organisation.
  • Overall cost reduction – In addition to certainty of payment, corporates are also benefiting from significantly reduced operational costs as a result of moving from traditional payment rails provided by banks towards significantly cheaper rails available from non-banks, such as fintechs and PSPs.
  • Global payment compliance – For most corporate payment strategies, optimised straight through processing (STP) is still a key corporate goal. Organisations come a step closer to achieving this goal if outgoing payments are tested for compliance to best payment practices, such as validating beneficiary payment instruction data for valid bank routing and regulatory compliance, and pre-screening correspondent and beneficiary banks against global bank sanctions lists.
  • Future proofing technical systems – Recognising that technology will play a big part in future profitability and require ongoing investment in new innovations that improve efficiencies, corporate treasurers must plan and budget adequately.

The Future Challenges of Payment innovation

The backdrop of a rapidly changing payment environment will inevitably require organisations to consistently challenge how payments are offered to their customers to ensure they meet customer demands for a frictionless payments process. At the same time, organisations must minimise the ongoing core operational costs and compliance / liquidity risks of making payments.

Learn more about the Accuity suite of payments solutions for corporate treasury departments.