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Real-time payments are here to stay and with good reason 

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Real-time Payment (RtP) models are here to stay for the foreseeable future alongside traditional payment schemes. But as businesses increasingly recognize their potential, further cases for real-time payments are coming to the fore. That’s according to Buckzy Payments Inc., (https://buckzy.net/) the Toronto-based global fintech on a mission to make international payments quicker, more reliable, and more affordable.

Umesh Maini, Chief Product Officer at Buckzy, stated, “Customer-oriented businesses such as retailers and hospitality providers value the increased speed with which they receive funds through real-time payments. In addition, during the Covid-19 pandemic, cross-border online purchasing increased, which put more pressure on liquidity for merchants due to the settlement times involved. But with the pandemic far from over, businesses from a wide variety of industries are also now looking at RtP with increased interest as a remedy to this issue, since with RtP it is the payer that is responsible for and controls the flow of funds rather than the payee and their bank or payment provider.

“RtP not only speeds up client payments – it can also improve cash flows, budgeting, financial projections and cash management,” explained Maini. “And if that’s not enough to get every Chief Financial Officer sitting up and paying attention, RtP also offers an opportunity to support and accelerate other digital innovations and trends, such as expedited bill payments, faster payroll disbursements to workers, and the ability for current account holders to manage their cash better. In other words, it acts as a major catalyst for businesses to digitally transform their business models by being able to accept payments that are settled in real-time.”

“Across the world, tech-savvy consumers and companies alike now want their bill payments, online shopping and cross-border transactions completed instantly, cheaply and at scale. That’s the power of RtP,” added Maini.

Maini summarizes the main benefits for financial services providers to adopt and support real-time payments as follows:

  • RtP helps with customer acquisition a real-time payment provides an additional set of services that will help to attract new customers
  • RtP removes the need to use costly, outdated fund transfer methods like SWIFT
  • RtP provides extra clarity for users to manage cash through up-to-the minute transaction histories and real-time account balances
  • Increased revenue through improved economies of scale and customer retention
  • Manual processes can be reduced, which in turn saves costs
  • RtP enables better customer insights compared with cash, which can then be used by the payment provider to improve their other financial services
  • RtP data can also improve anti-money laundering (AML) and fraud monitoring

“As with any major shift in technology, payment providers will face both costs and benefits to upgrade their systems to a new faster payments infrastructure. Investment by providers and adoption by users will both depend on the specific benefits each gains from real-time payments. Consumers today expect to get what they want quickly and at any time, at the push of a button. This also goes for their payments and it’s why RtP will quickly become the new normal,” concluded Maini.

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SVEA BANK ACQUIRES AREX’S FINTECH OPERATION IN FINLAND

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AREX Markets, the data-driven FinTech company that drives financing costs down for SMEs and enables them to get paid quicker, has announced the sale of its Finland operations to Swedish payment and financing institution Svea Bank.

With the deal, Svea will further strengthen its position as a corporate financier, as AREX’s c.1200 Finnish customers and partnerships in the areas of financial management and financial management software will be transferred to the bank’s portfolio. The Finnish operation of AREX has financed over EUR 500M worth of invoices.

AREX’s Spanish and UK operations remain unaffected and remain focused on building embeddable financing products for third party platforms. Customers in Finland have been informed of their transition, and their contracts and service details will port across to Svea.

Svea is reshaping the playing field of corporate finance in Finland, and taking on the operations of AREX in the region is a natural step to strengthen their own business and at the same time offer AREX’s partners and customers an easy path to a wider range of services than before.

“Over the years, Svea has grown a lot also through business transactions, therefore acquiring AREX’s business operations in Finland was a good and natural solution for us. In addition, the deal is pleasant for us at Svea because the focus of our activities is to help partners and customers succeed – offering AREX’s partners and customers a wider range of services is exactly that,” says Pasi Väre, country manager of Svea in Finland.

The deal also brings new opportunities for AREX to focus on the UK and Europe in its roll out of embeddable financing products, which can be white-labelled by neobanks, ERPs and accounting software alike. The business is seeking to bridge the liquidity gap faced by most small businesses in the face of a recessive economic climate.

UK SME’s can continue to access AREX’s core invoice financing product through the Xero marketplace.

“For us at AREX, this is a great step: we are developing a stronger presence in the field of embedded finance, which is underpinned by our sophisticated marketplace software, our strongest point,” says AREX’s CEO, Airto Vienola.

“For the AREX team it was extremely important that we find the best possible corporate financier to take care of the business’ customers and partnerships in Finland. Svea convinced us with their customer and partner-centric approach”, adds AREX’s co-founder Perttu Jalkanen.

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ICICI Lombard and AU Small Finance Bank announce Bancassurance tie-up

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ICICI Lombard General Insurance, India’s leading private sector non-life insurance company, is entering into a Bancassurance tie-up with AU Small Finance Bank. The partnership will provide the Bank’s diverse customers access to the insurer’s portfolio and enhance penetration across India.

AU Bank is rapidly expanding its distribution footprints across India and this tie-up between two giants in their respective industries will aim to further enrich its general insurance offering with agile, digital & paperless solutions offered by ICICI Lombard. The entire suite of products will be offered across 980+ banking touchpoints spread over 20 states & 2 union territories. The customer centric products will provide long-term financial security to customers and their families. With both organizations believing in offering the best to the customers through innovation and consistency, this partnership would offer customers the best of both worlds.

Speaking about the partnership Mr. Sanjeev Mantri, Executive Director, of ICICI Lombard said, ““At ICICI Lombard, we are in constant endeavour to provide consumers and businesses effective risk management solutions based on their evolving needs. As an industry leader, we are excited to partner with AU Small Finance Bank – India’s largest small finance bank, in providing customers a comprehensive product portfolio. This partnership will help further strengthen our distribution and unravel growth opportunities through the bank’s wide network. With our extensive range of customised solutions for risk management we are confident that we will be able to address varied customer segments across India.”

Highlighting the key aspects of this strategic partnership, Mr. Uttam Tibrewal, Executive Director, AU Small Finance Bank, said, “AU Small Finance Bank always prides in providing customer centric solutions and services. Expanding our bouquet of financial services and customer value proposition, we wanted to associate with additional general insurance partner to add value to our existing range of products & services while helping our customers plan for better financial security. We welcome ICICI Lombard as our valued insurance partner who, we believe, has the ability and experience to understand customers’ needs and offer them customized need-based solutions and provide seamless services. I am sure, the customer-friendly products of ICICI Lombard, combined with our extensive presence and robust technological capabilities, will be the right mix to increase insurance penetration.”

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