ABN AMRO, one of the largest banks in the Netherlands, was an early adopter of the Instant Credit Transfer ( Inst) scheme. We interviewed Sandra Peute, Business Developer for Payments at ABN AMRO, about the scheme’s rollout, its challenges, and the future of instant payments.
Q. ABN-AMRO was among the very first payment service providers () in Europe to join the Inst scheme when it was launched in November 2017. Can you share some of your thoughts about ABN AMRO’s first months of concrete experience with the scheme?
Well, to be honest, we had a few early problems. For example, which reject reason was used in which situation needed to be clarified and agreed upon between participating . Furthermore, it turned out that not every payment account held at participating was reachable for Inst. Fortunately, all showed a great willingness to solve these issues quickly. And from January 2018 onwards, we’ve seen significant progress. Today, we experience a very smooth end-to-end operation resulting in ninety-five percent of our outgoing Inst transactions being confirmed in less than three seconds!
Q. What opportunities does Inst open up for you and your customers?
The majority of our customers do not understand why transferring money is more complex and slow than sending a WhatsApp message. Inst gives us the opportunity to meet our customers’ demands by offering them a payment that reaches the beneficiary’s account as quickly as a WhatsApp message and that has a track-and-trace functionality similar to one used to track your parcel after an online purchase.
This payment meets the expectations of customers who wish to grasp the full potential of the 24/7 economy. Consumers and corporates alike now have the ultimate opportunity to optimise their cash management.
Q. What was your biggest obstacle during the adoption of Inst, and how was it overcome?
Although many of our systems were already running on a 24/7/365 basis, we still had quite a few adjustments to make. Our biggest obstacle has probably been the new technical connectivity that is required for sending the Inst transactions as quickly as possible with 24/7/365 availability and, on top of that, very securely. With the help of both our own (security) specialists and our partners SIA and Clearing, we managed to solve the issues that popped up along the way, resulting in a very solid yet flexible solution.
Q. How do you see the scheme evolving in the future?
The European have just taken the very first, big and important steps towards creating a future-proof payment type. The Inst scheme is flexible enough to adapt to customer needs of the (near) future such as a higher amount and shorter processing timelines.
It’s ABN AMRO’s vision that instant payments are about to become ‘the new normal’. As a result, we have developed a product proposition that is currently unique in : when initiating a payment, there is no need for the customer to choose between different types of credit transfers. He just wants to have his payment completed, and quickly, please. He doesn’t want to be bothered by different payment types. What are they anyway? That’s why the customer can just initiate his payment and ABN AMRO will decide the best way to process it as quickly as possible: as an on-us transaction, as an Inst when the beneficiary is reachable, or as a regular when the transaction amount surpasses the maximum agreed amount or the beneficiary is not (yet) reachable for Inst.
And last but not least, we’re also looking for ways to process future dated payments, standing orders, and batch payments as Inst.
Q. Finally, based on your experience, what’s the one key piece of advice you would give to European planning to implement Inst?
Focus on the bigger picture. It’s not all about adjusting your IT systems. Is your organisation really ready to support Inst on a 24/7/365 basis? When your customer calls you at 03:26 in the morning? Or when your IT department receives an e-mail at 22:57 in the evening asking them to stop sending Inst transactions to a certain because it’s having some trouble? What more needs to be done to make your customers smile?
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