The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be attributed to the European Payments Council.
The Single Euro Payments Area ( ) Request-to-Pay ( ) scheme covers a wide range of use cases and business models, applicable in many sectors. The scheme can be considered as a complement to the payment flow because it supports the end-to-end process and lies between an underlying commercial transaction and the payment itself. Since last year, the scheme’s development has made great progress. As such, we wanted to know more about the scheme’s most significant achievements so far by interviewing Alain Benedetti, the chair of the ad-hoc RTP Task Force (RTP TF) in charge of developing the scheme within the .
On 30 November 2020, the published the first scheme rulebook. What has been done since the end of last year?
First, in order to prepare the second release of the rulebook and focus on more elaborated functionalities, the maintenance cycle was launched with a 3-month public call for change requests from 30 November 2020 to 26 February 2021.
Second, the Implementations Guidelines ( ) were published on 1 February 2021. These set out the rules for implementing the relevant ISO 20022 XML message standards based on the first version of the scheme rulebook.
A Clarification Paper on the rulebook was also published on 5 February 2021. The purpose of this document is to provide guidance and, where applicable, recommendations to the future scheme participants on matters that are not wholly described in the first version of the scheme rulebook. The clarification paper is a living document that will be updated from time to time, once new questions and/or issues arise that need further clarification.
Furthermore, on 5 May 2021, the adherence process to the scheme was opened to allow the applicants to prepare their applications ahead of the rulebook’s effective date, set for 15 June 2021.
As part of its onboarding process of participants, the will require all service provider applicants to be accredited by an independent third party (Homologation Body). This is a necessity in order to be certain that they have the ‘capacity’ from an operational, security, and business continuity point of view to fulfil a number of requirements that are essential in the context of the scheme. In this regard, the launched mid-February 2021 a one-month ‘Request for Proposal’ process to select a “homologation body”. The goal of this “homologation process” is mainly to ensure that both regulated and non-regulated applicants are capable of ensuring the scheme’s security and stability. This process will be an integral part of the adherence procedure and will be announced in June 2021.
Finally, on 25 May 2021, the launched a 90-day public consultation on possible changes to the scheme. The version 2.0 of the rulebook is foreseen to be published by end-November 2021. All interested parties are invited to participate in this public consultation to help the evolve the scheme in a way best meeting market needs.
Can you tell us more about the RTP TF focus on more elaborated functionalities?
As a result of call for change requests that ended in February this year, the RTP TF assessed the received change requests and issued some recommendations. Those change requests and the related RTP TF recommendations were submitted to a three-month public consultation starting 25 May 2021 until 27 August 2021.
As already mentioned, based on the feedback received, the second release of the rulebook and of the Implementation Guidelines will be prepared and published by the end of November 2021 (entering into effect 6 months or 1 year later, subject to Board approval).
However, given the number of requested new functionalities, it will not be possible to include all the changes in the second version of the rulebook. Therefore, another change management cycle and a third version of the rulebook are already scheduled for 2022.
Can you elaborate on the main topics of the recently launched public consultation?
Application Programming Interface (
). A dedicated work block composed of RTP TF members and
experts has been created to work on this subject. To include minimal mandatory infrastructure requirements (communication protocols) applicable in the inter-RTP service providers’ space to ensure interoperability, reachability, and security between the
scheme participants’ solutions. Although the
scheme very thoroughly details “what” messages and data must be exchanged through the
Implementation Guidelines and the XML Schema Definitions (XSDs), it does not prescribe anything on the infrastructure, which in common language is “how” are these messages and data supposed to be exchanged.
- Redirection. It would be an alternative processing flow. It could either be used for a technical re-direct to a webpage or an application or it could represent more widely all cases where the Payer’s activation is implicit.
- Addition of a Uniform Resource Locator (URL). The possibility to populate an URL in an
message that will redirect the Payer to a display service where a document (i.e., an invoice) can be downloaded or viewed. This would be a way to show more detailed information.
- Currency agnosticism. To allow
messages in another
area currency than the euro.
- Payee’s enrolment and Payer’s activation:
- Enrolment: process managed by the SPs to accept a Payee or a Payer as customer and as player in the scheme.
- Activation: consent given by a Payer to Payee to receive messages (bilateral exchange of consent and/or of information).
A dedicated work block has been created to work on these subjects.
How do you see the scheme evolving in the coming years?
Needless to say, we expect more adherences once the second version of the rulebook will be published. Additionally, although the scheme can already be used cross-border, it will most likely be used locally at the beginning.
Therefore, we expect the service providers to gradually broaden their offers to the area in a second stage. However, it should be stressed that the objective and “raison d’être” of the scheme is to ensure and require full reach as soon as possible.
Also, besides the preparation of the third version of the rulebook and , the will work on monitoring the scheme’s usage, namely the collection and publication of some statistics.
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