The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be attributed to the European Payments Council.
On 30 November 2020, the European Payment Council ( ) launched the first version of its Single Euro Payments Area ( ) Request-To-Pay ( ) scheme rulebook. The is a messaging functionality that complements end-to-end payment flow because it allows a payee to request the initiation of a payment from a payer in a wide range of both physical and online use cases. We interviewed Jean-Yves Jacquelin, the chair of the ad-hoc RTP Task Force (RTP TF) responsible for the development of the scheme, to shed some light on the future of the new scheme.
First, could you briefly describe the recently published Request-to-Pay ( ) scheme rulebook and the key steps towards its creation?
Following a three-month public consultation and with the close involvement of stakeholders from the entire payment value chain, the published the first version of the scheme rulebook on its website on 30 November 2020.
The scheme rulebook, which is based on the RTP specifications document produced by the RTP Multi-stakeholder Group ( ) and endorsed by the Euro Retail Payments Board ( ) in November 2019, consists of a set of rules, practices and standards that makes it possible for any eligible RTP Service Provider to join, participate and operate in the scheme. It should be noted that the scheme will be available to all eligible entities from all countries according to the level playing-field principle between payment service providers ( ) and non- .
The effective date of the first rulebook is set to 15 June 2021 and takes into account the need for an independent certification body (to be selected and become operational) for the certification of applicants to the scheme as described in the Trust and Security Framework Annex of the rulebook. This six-month period will also allow interested service providers to prepare themselves to become active in the scheme as from its beginning.
The scheme adherence process is planned to be opened in the first week of May 2021 to allow applicants to prepare their adherence application ahead of the effective date of the scheme.
What are the main business benefits of the scheme?
The current version of the RTP covers a compelling functionality that complements the use of credit transfers for a better end-to-end payment user experience in retail transactions, E-invoice Presentment and Payment (EIPP) transactions – i.e. Business-to-Customer (B2C), Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Government (B2G) – and proximity Person-to-Person ( ) transactions.
The RTP helps streamline the end-to-end payment experience for all parties involved and facilitates reconciliation. Moreover, the scheme aims to facilitate the request of a payment in a digital manner (including interoperability and reachability) and allows payees to express their payment preferences (e.g. pay now/pay later) in alignment with their specific needs.
The scheme can be considered a complement to the payments flow because it supports the end-to-end process and lies between the underlying commercial transaction and the payment itself. The RTP as such can be seen as an enabler for digital payments, especially in connection with instant payments.
How will the scheme’s change management cycle be organised?
The scheme change cycle will be organised in accordance with the structured and transparent change management process that is governed by the rulebook.
As a first step, the has already invited the market to submit its change requests in relation to the first release of the rulebook by close of business on 26 February 2021.
In the last week of May 2021, a three-month public consultation on all change requests will be launched, with the aim of publishing a second version of the rulebook by 30 November 2021 (entering into effect six months or one year later – to be confirmed).
Possible topics to be addressed in new versions of the scheme rulebook include payment guarantee, instalment payments, pre-authorisation of payment, payment initiation in payer’s application, possibility to include a URL and making the scheme currency agnostic. Some of these elaborate functionalities were identified in the 2019 specifications document.
What’s next on scheme’s agenda?
Besides the preparation of the second release, the is busy preparing a number of scheme-related deliverables:
- To ensure full transparency, the
will publish the document containing the public consultation comments received last summer and the related
responses as well as the input from the
(on these comments) by the end of 2020.
- The implementation guidelines related to the first version of the
scheme rulebook are envisaged to be published by the end of January 2021.
- In February 2021, the plans to publish a Clarification Paper in relation to the first release to provide further background information to the market that could not be incorporated into the rulebook. In the same month, the will also launch a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the selection of an independent certification body for the certification of applicants to the scheme.
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