Solving the late payments challenge: Incomeing and The Co-operative bank launch 'Request To Pay' service

Banking technology platform provider BankiFi, in association with The Co-operative Bank, has launched a new Request to Pay (RTP) service: Incomeing. The service helps SMEs boost their cash flow by facilitating instant, cost-effective and secure collection of payments from their customers. The Co-operative Bank is the first UK provider to offer an open Request to Pay mobile application for not only its customers but also those that bank elsewhere.

Many micro and small businesses suffer as a result of high transaction fees, delayed or late payments, complex financial admin tasks and cash-flow disruption. According to research from the Federation of Small Businesses1, 30% of all payments to SMEs are late, at an average value of £6,142. Cognisant of the urgency around late payments the UK government recently announced an overhaul of the Prompt Payment Code (PPC), cutting the payment term in half to within 30 days. Further, McKinsey2 estimate that around 74% of an SME’s time is spent on ‘non-core activities’, including time-consuming administrative tasks.

When (feeling) out of control – choice empowers!

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When (feeling) out of control – choice empowers!

How banks and PSPs can turn a ‘Request to Pay’ into a full – liquidity and time saving - business service

Last year at Money2020 Europe (“when will I see you again…?”), I spoke about Purpose and Control and I told the audience how my grandad still whispers in my ear in times of need: “You feel out of control, but darling you are not; the choice is yours on how to deal with this, grab that power with both hands”. Wise words that ring true for all of us, particularly today. For here we are all in the same boat, lifted off the ground, shaking by the skin of our neck and jolted back to earth. How will we land? Greater minds than mine think and speak of this. I simply stick to: “This is a challenge, a major one, but also an opportunity, a gift to look at things totally differently, simply because we now can see”.

So reading, rather than scanning the news, a few articles caught my attention this week, payment geeks as we are at BankiFi. As the early novelty of the lockdowns settled, the media – social and print – are pouring good advice upon us. As consumers, as parents, as business owners. “Start cancelling direct debits on things you might not need over the next few months'' (Good Housekeeping), “Increase in direct debit cancellations since the crisis began” (Civil Society News ) on the fact that so many donors had been cancelling direct debits to charities). And in our industry news we read about web shops having to wait for their money because of the enormous increase in requests for chargebacks the PSPs had to process. An article (in the Dutch language financial daily) explains the notion that when people pay, say, their gym membership by direct debit, and the gym goes out of business, they come for recourse to the payment services provider. Increases of around 20% have been commonplace over the past month.

The same issue, even if businesses do not fail, now occurs when people feel uncertain about their future cash position. Because of the lack of a level playing field in a direct debit relationship they now rather opt to cancel the agreement in full, as per the story above around donations. The lack of control and trust is the real issue, the payment instrument of direct debit is simply the wrong one here. Cancelling is not necessarily what people want, but they do this as a preemptive strike. Better be safe than sorry. All of the control is with the payee or the organization and none with the payer, the client.

On top of that we should also remember the rather painful process many companies had to go through to move from local direct debit schemes to SEPA direct debit. Once it is in place, companies love it. As per the World Payments Report by Capgemini 2019, around 20% of the non-cash payments in Europe are direct debits. But it is a hard process to go through with two parties and not always for frequent payments like utility bills, often also for an annual or quarterly modest amount of money like domestic services or club memberships. Not a great experience between a thankful business or charity and a client, but administrative hassle.

At the consumer end many recurring payments are being settled by simple requests to pay, sent from mobile to mobile. Businesses, even sole traders, require a bit more. An added invoice, flexible payment terms, options to pay by credit transfer or card would all make this a great dialogue between the two parties and saving time and saving admin hassle and giving choice.

And let’s not forget that beyond the negative scenarios mentioned above, a bank or PSP labeled Request to Pay solution offers a great service for existing parties that do already have a trusted trading relationship. Both parties should be in control of the timing as well getting the money and we all know that balanced relationships tend to last and mature.

But, you’ll say, Request to Pay solutions and schemes are already on the road maps of the EBA, Swift, EPC and Pay.UK. True, although the latter announced this week that it has decided to temporarily delay the publication of its Request to Pay framework. These are all great initiatives, but they have some major draw-backs in common: they will not help you now that your customers need this pain point solved today and moreover make you dependent on whatever the other parties involved might want ‘in or out of it’.

As the current time frame demands optimal flexibility and agility from all of us in all aspects of life, this is the time to practice it also inside our siloed bank and payment enterprises. Come out of the trenches and choose your battle, and your customers are just that. Go to battle for them and go fast. They need you now. Don’t go to the foundry to weld your own arms, look for white label tech providers to work with you, lowering your R&D investments and spend on tech as you and your customers go live.

We all know full well that the revenues and use cases of Instant Payments and Open Banking will come from a horizontal – full service based – view, not from the most magical vertical solution.

Banks (challenger and incumbent) and payment service providers are working around the clock to help their (business) customers, so they are well placed to be the ones to solve this issue of late payments, lost payments, unnecessary cancellations and on the upside offer a real rich service beyond payments. Sure, niche apps aim to offer similar experiences, but right now all of us are focused on getting a grip on our lives in flux today and we do not necessarily want to get lost in ‘a jungle of apps’. Follow what your customers use already, your bank channel, your app, your portal. It is easiest and most trusted if it comes from you: the PSP they know, the bank they know.

Embed a Request to Pay solution plus Communication plus Choice plus Collections plus Consolidation in the channel your customers know and like today.

As the financial services industry at large is not seen as the cause of the current crisis; why not play a great part in the solution? Expand on your customer relationship, dive deep and get close. Your business clients will get serviced, nudged and paid. Their client/payer has a level of control over the when, how and ultimately if. And through them you – as a bank or PSP - might win new customers too as they experience a great service 'second' hand. Optimise your investment in Instant Payments and Open Banking and add a little bit of RTP4 on the go.

“When (feeling) out of control – choice empowers!” And the choice is ours! Wishing you all good health, a positive open mind and a lot of energy in the months to come.




Also read this recent article in The Fintech Times (page 30) : Money in the ‘bank’ for all in which BankiFi's Mark Hartley talks about helping businesses get paid quicker while saving time and money in chasing late payments.


Download the press release on BankiFi's launch of RTP4

Conny Dorrestijn | Founding Partner BankiFi

Conny Dorrestijn | Founding Partner BankiFi

BankiFi’s Founding partner Conny Dorrestijn has worked in the international financial technology industry in a wide range of marketing and business development roles, most recently at Clear2Pay / FIS. She is an Advisory Board Member to Holland FinTech and AdviceRobo, Non-Executive Board Member at Arches Capital and Blanco Services and an Associate of the Digital Insurance Agenda (DIA) and the Blockchain Innovation Conference (BIC2019) and a Global Innovation Awards Judge at BAI (US) and Jury Chair of the Dutch NRC FinTech Live Awards. She is a co-host of the regular Fintech Cappuccino podcast. With inclusion across gender, age and culture high on her agenda, she is a Global Ambassador of the EWPN – European Women in Payments Network. She is an Advisory Board Member and mentor for the Money2020 Europe Rise Up programme. Her passion for generation Y and Z is translated in active student mentoring and her voluntary work for the Global Give Back Circle:, where she is also active as a mentor for Kenyan students.

Fintech Cappuccino

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The Fintech Power 50 VIRTUAL Networking Event

Missing real life events too? We do and would love to reconnect with you by voice, face and lots of new content around Request to Pay for micro and small businesses, monitising OpenBanking and more!

September 22,  12:00pm - CEST, Virtual event

Impact ’20

Digital and business model innovation in a digital age – Conny will speak about Banking in a New World Order – with Purpose

June 3-4, Krakow, Poland

De toekomst van het betalingsverkeer

THE national conference on the Future of payments and transaction banking is being chaired by Conny connecting banks, PSPs, merchants and corporate customers. 

April 7, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Money2020 Asia

With Asia and in particular Singapore, Australia and New Zealand moving swiftly on Open Banking Conny will be at Money2020 to meet with the banks’that get it’. Please connect for a meeting: 

March 23-25, Singapore

UK – NL Cyber & Fintech Summit

As an Anglo Dutch company BankiFi is very fit to present at this bridge building event. Topics around PSD2, Fintechs and more – free registration

February 20, The Hague, The Netherlands

Open Banking Excellence

A discussion on Banking as a Platform with Mark Hartley, Founding Partner BankiFi

February 20, London, UK

The SME Open Banking Revolution

An Experian / Finextra webinar – BankiFi outlines why SME need and deserve it the most and why banks can make this happen.

February 13, Finextra webinar – free registration

NFI Nordic Finance Innovation – Doing Digital

Event launching Chris Skinner’s latest book. Conny will present on Doing Digital with Purpose – in a new world order.

February 12, Oslo, Norway

Open Banking and SCA Forum

Conny moderated and chaired this two-day event in Amsterdam,  4/5 February 2020 with an international host of banks presenting.


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