‘Request to Pay’ poses challenge to traditional payments

Ellie Duncan
19 Jan 2022

Global banks believe ‘Request to Pay’ will challenge traditional payment methods but identified bank “readiness” as the main barrier to adoption, according to a new survey.

The survey of more than 50 industry stakeholders across global retail and corporate banks by Icon Solutions, found that 87% view it as a “good alternative” to direct debits, while 71% respondents expect it to reduce merchants’ dependency on payment cards.

However, the survey Demystifying Request to Pay: An Industry Perspective, also revealed that 67% believe “bank readiness” is the main barrier to the adoption of ‘Request to Pay’ services, with the limitations of existing technology and a lack of clear strategy seen as the key inhibiting factors.

While ‘Request to Pay’ has been positioned as an alternative way for retail customers to pay their bills, the research found that 73% of respondents see most demand from large corporates, with plans to use Request to Pay to diversify product roadmaps.

Invoicing, payments reconciliation, and the digitalisation and integration of processes and systems emerged as the leading use cases among respondents.

Despite this, Icon Solutions revealed that few survey respondents had launched Request to Pay services to date, and that it does not feature on the short-term roadmaps for many of those surveyed.

Toine van Beusekom, strategy director at Icon, said that technology transformation programmes “remain notoriously difficult”.

“Identifying a pragmatic path to upgrade existing technology estates, in tandem with a clear strategy that is aligned with broader business objectives, will be critical to accelerating bank support for Request to Pay services and remaining competitive in the long-term,” added van Beusekom.

“But with banks already at the limits of their technological and strategic capacity, trusted third-parties promise to play an important role in filling the resource gap to help banks realise the huge opportunities presented by Request to Pay.”

Louise Shorthouse, senior payments consultant at Icon, said: “Make no mistake, the industry expects ‘Request to Pay’ to have a lasting impact on the future of banking and payments.

“The potential to deliver more flexibility, choice and control to corporates, merchants and consumers – while reducing costs – offers a real alternative.”

Bottomline’s Teresa Connors and Ed Adshead-Grant discuss the findings of their own research into banks’ digital transformation projects in the latest episode of Open Banking Expo TV.