The Promises of SEPA & What Corporates Really Want

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1 The Promises of SEPA & What Corporates Really Want Whitepaper by Equens and EY Sound solutions, solid results

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3 Content The Promises of SEPA & What Corporates Really Want Whitepaper by Equens and EY Rationale 2 About the authors 2 Glossary of terms 2 Management summary 3 Introduction 4 Overview: three main stages 5 Stage 1 Comply: Compliance comes first 7 Keeping the project manageable 7 Number of banking relationships often maintained 7 Standardised or not standardised, after all? 8 The complex implementation of SEPA Direct Debit 8 Wet signature will continue to be necessary for the time being 8 SEPA migration not yet a catalyst for innovation 9 PSPs: interesting, but not for everyone 9 Stage 2 Improve: Benefiting from the XML standard 11 Standardised reconciliation information 11 Opportunities for mandate and e-mandate management 11 Basic principle: data standardisation 12 Boost for e-invoicing 12 Real-time payments: better service, lower costs 12 B2C: need for omni-channel 12 Standardisation or innovation? 12 Stage 3 Benefit: Enhancing the value chain 15 Payments in line with the overall client proposition 15 Tailoring the method of payment to the customer s profile 15 Payment as part of the customer experience 15 B2B: risk management and supply-chain financing 15 Sharing payment data 16 Role for integrator 16 In conclusion 17

4 Rationale As an expert payment processing partner, Equens is committed to understanding the market and the needs of our clients and their customers. This led to our initiative to investigate the needs and expectations of corporates with regard to payments. To ensure objectivity and benefit from external expertise, Equens teamed up with Ernst & Young (EY). Equens and EY collected input from corporates active in retail, logistics and telecom in several European countries in order to discuss their challenges, expectations and experiences in connection with the SEPA migration. Our objective was to gain an understanding of their future needs and expectations, and share this information with the outside world. The research was performed by means of an online survey, followed by qualitative interviews with several European corporates. This whitepaper presents the findings from the survey and interviews. These are valuable findings, as they may present opportunities in the payments industry for the coming years (after the SEPA end date). About the authors Bas Peeters, Equens SE Bas has more than 25 years of history in payments and cards processing within Equens and its predecessors. His experience includes IT, sales, and product -, business - and strategy development. Bas participates in several working groups in the financial industry, with a focus on payments standardization, regulation and services for the corporate market. Glossary of terms Mohamed Bouker, EY Mohamed is part of EY s Advisory business for Financial Services across EMEIA and has more than 14 years experience. Mohamed has a background in IT operations, ERP implementations and payments. Since 2011 he s responsible for EY s payment group in the Netherlands and is member of EY s International payment group. This whitepaper focuses on the experiences and needs of corporates when it comes to SEPA payments. The term corporates is used to distinguish the companies concerned from SMEs. Depending on the context, the terms wholesale and B2B and also retail and B2C may be used interchangeably. It will be clear from the context when the term retailer refers specifically to a retail chain or web shop. The term merchant naturally refers to the payment relationship in the B2C domain. 2

5 Management summary The promises of SEPA were clear: to increase competition between banks, leading to lower costs and higher efficiency; to simplify administrative processes and systems; and to pay throughout Europe with less banks and bank accounts. To most companies, the implementation of SEPA may have appeared primarily compliance-driven. If the promises of SEPA are to be fulfilled, a number of improvements will have to be made. The point of departure for this is better standardisation or, where this is lacking, the integration of the different interpretations of the SEPA standard that currently coexist. Then, through the introduction of a number of additional services, SEPA s promises can gradually become reality. The fact that SEPA has failed to deliver a common SEPA-wide standard may be the biggest single hindrance to innovative breakthroughs. Furthermore, businesses require innovation because it is a prerequisite for the development of new, widely available services. Several integrators now specialise in bridging the gap between the different standards. In doing so, they are facilitating the development of comprehensive solutions for corporates and their clients. A few obvious solutions are listed below: Standardised reconciliation information for automated processing. Mandate and e-mandate management, so that SDDs can preferably be processed using straight-through processing (STP). E-invoicing. Real-time payments with various levels of security. Omni-channel integration to ensure that payments and services remain manageable, both in physical and web shops, with which clients communicate and do business via a variety of channels. Once SEPA s promises have been fulfilled and new, widely available services have been introduced, we can all start to truly benefit. There are possibilities in the following areas: B2C: enhancing the retail customer s experience B2B: risk management and supply-chain financing With such innovations, payments will become more than merely a commodity whose price needs to be as low as possible. The current stage will determine who will ultimately be able to offer true added value: the integrators (payment service providers (PSPs), service bureaus) or the established financial parties (banks and their shared services partners, such as payment processors). This whitepaper further details and substantiates these visions of the future, supporting them with findings from a series of interviews with European corporates. 3

6 Introduction Will SEPA be the driver for innovations in payments? With the final deadline for SEPA approaching, now is a good time to take stock of things. The promises of SEPA were clear: to increase competition between banks, leading to lower costs and higher efficiency; to simplify administrative processes and systems; and to pay throughout Europe with less banks and bank accounts. The question is whether these promises have been fulfilled? The implementation of SEPA may have appeared primarily compliance-driven. Only a few large international enterprises considered it a step in the right direction, towards centralised and standardised processes a transition they had already started making. They, too, have yet to fully benefit from the advantages of the SEPA XML standard when it comes to the optimisation of processes and banking and other services. This standard should enable the use of structured data (i.e. data in a format that enables automated processing), which will facilitate the processing of a much wider range of information than payment orders alone, for instance for ERP systems or reconciliation. This also applies to the use of data linked to transactions for communication and the reinforcement of relationships between market parties, in both the B2C and B2B domains. Is the business world going to take advantage of this as-yet-unutilised opportunity? What are the experiences and needs of large enterprises, the so-called corporates, and what suggestions can we make to them and their banks in order to help them utilise the opportunities presented by SEPA more effectively? In order to be able to provide a well-founded answer to this question, Equens and EY have drawn on their own experiences and a qualitative survey they conducted based on interviews with a large number of European enterprises. 4

7 Overview: three main stages The findings provide a colourful picture. However, three separate stages can be identified in which SEPA asserts its influence. The first of these stages is that of compliance, which has almost been completed. For many companies, the advantages of SEPA are not yet clear, despite the considerable costs and resources involved in the implementation. The second stage improve now seems to be getting underway, and is all about taking advantage of the opportunities for improvement the SEPA standards can offer in terms of directly connecting payments with a broader range of financial functions, such as debtor management and financing. This has an added value, and elevates payments to a level where they are more than merely a commodity whose price needs to be as low as possible. At the same time, it is becoming clear that the SEPA standards are not as standardised as had been envisaged. The challenge for traditional service providers, in particular banks and payment processors, and new service providers such as PSPs, is to find a solution and make the differences between the various SEPA standards transparent. The third stage involves a radical increase in quality with benefits, which extends the payments value chain into the domain of the business (marketing, customer experience). In this area, the B2C segment is clearly in the lead, but there are also many possibilities for B2B. When will SEPA promises for corporates be fulfilled? not fulfilled fulfilled Pay throughout Europe with less banks and bank accounts Simplified administrative processes and systems Competition leads to lower costs and higher efficiency What does it take to fulfill or even exceed them? 1. Comply 2. Improve 3. Benefit Project control No consolidation of accounts yet So far limited standardization SDD brings new challenges No innovations yet Standard reconciliation E-mandates Multi stakeholder mandate management E-invoicing Real time payments Payment supports corporate s proposition / customer profile Risk management /Supply chain financing Omni-payments Bank as trusted partner 5

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9 Stage 1 Comply: Compliance comes first Keeping the project manageable In making the transition to SEPA, the vast majority of corporates focused their efforts on maintaining the status quo. When it came to migrating to SEPA, they consequently primarily aimed to keep projects manageable in terms of scope and objectives, and paid little attention to achieving any benefits. Indeed, there was often uncertainty as to whether existing, familiar functionalities would continue to be used under SEPA. In countries where payments have traditionally been efficient, there is also suspicion that SEPA could lead to higher costs. There seems to be increasing competitive pressure that will decrease the average pricing level in the Eurozone, but will not necessarily lead to lower prices in countries where payments were already highly efficient, such as the Benelux countries and Finland. Another question in relation to costs is whether SEPA could lead to a European credit card scheme with significantly lower rates than the current scheme. When asked, corporates sometimes indicate that they are not very happy with the current situation. Collaboration between banks and domestic and international retailers could be an option in this respect. Number of banking relationships often maintained The majority of market parties share the view that SEPA will yield the most profit for companies that operate in multiple countries, as it will enable those companies to further consolidate and harmonise their payment processes and banking relationships. This is certainly true for a number of these companies, but by no means for all of them. Departments that have migrated to SEPA are not always making the decisions when it comes to banking relationships. Among domestic organisations, there is a desire to reduce the number of banking relationships, although this has not taken place yet. Sometimes domestic organisations decide against such measures in order to avoid the risk of disrupting the payment process. They sometimes also have commercial reasons, namely continuing their banking activities where large numbers of their customers hold accounts. Meanwhile, on account of liquidity risk large enterprises want to continue doing business with multiple banks. Do you expect a new scheme will be developed around debit cards? I don t know. We have assigned people to look into the card fees, and are also lobbying together with other big corporates to try to put some pressure on the monopoly that the big schemes more or less have. They ll have to give in because the fees are not really justified. (Large European retailer) What were the main advantages or disadvantages of SEPA for you? The disadvantage was, of course, the high involvement and cost of migrating IT systems and procedures. For now, we don t see any advantage, because ours has always been a low-price country in terms of banking transactions. We just performed a one-to-one migration to SEPA on a don t touch a running system basis, and that s it up to now. There was no room for improvements or efficiency gains. And we didn t, up to now, restructure our banking portfolio. This is a task to be fulfilled in the future. Everybody is happy to have his infrastructure, business processes and his business partners maintained. (Large European logistics services company) When will SEPA promises for corporates be fulfilled? not fulfilled fulfilled What does it take to fulfill or even exceed them? Pay throughout Europe with less banks and bank accounts Simplified administrative processes and systems Competition leads to lower costs and higher efficiency Comply 2. Improve 3. Benefit Project control No consolidation of accounts yet So far limited standardization SDD brings new challenges No innovations yet Standard reconciliation E-mandates Multi stakeholder mandate management E-invoicing Real time payments Payment supports corporate s proposition / customer profile Risk management /Supply chain financing Omni-payments Bank as trusted partner 7

10 How many banks do you use, and have you considered switching to other banks? Actually, we have too many of them. We have roughly ten banks on a daily basis for the SEPA area, and we have even more if you look on a global basis. We have roughly twenty currencies to pool every day. We are drawing up concrete plans now. But these have to be put on a solid ground in order to convince the finance and the operating colleagues that it is wise to make a SEPA 2.0 step by reducing the number of banks. We surely don t need that many anymore, especially not in Europe. (Large European logistics services company) How did you anticipate on SEPA? We first concentrated to convert all EUR cross-border payments into SEPA so they would be categorised as domestic payments. The biggest advantages are standardisation, one format, one account and decreasing costs, of course. When it comes to domestic payments, it gave us the opportunity to expand the payment service offer of the centralised payment factory. Today, we make all EUR payments on behalf of the Eurozone country organisations from one euro account at the same low price as they were used to. The EUR bank account can be in any SEPA-area country. We have also welcomed SEPA, because by working with the one standard format it has increased the quality of the payments. By checking the logic of BIC and IBAN, we can detect errors before sending payments to the bank and achieve 100% STP. This is much easier to do than before. This means we have more happy flow and are able to stop the non-happy flow before it is executed. The standardised format of BIC and IBAN is also easier for all our countries to work with. Last but not least, we were also triggered to convert our whole payment language to the XML ISO20022 model and according to the CGI (Common Global Implementation) initiative. (Large European retailer) What will be the challenges after SEPA? The first step will surely be the adoption of e-mandate solutions. In relation to this, I think the banks will have to play a major role to guarantee interoperability. But also infrastructure entities, for example payment processors, are important. We need global solutions, not single-group or specific solutions. (Large telecom provider) Standardised or not standardised, after all? Corporates operating primarily in one country have invested extensive time and money in making sure they can maintain existing functionality where possible, but are now discovering that SEPA products are not always of the same standard as those functionalities. Furthermore, while far-reaching standardisation had been envisaged in connection with SEPA, it has emerged that there are still several minor differences between formats even within individual countries, which are difficult to deal with. The complex implementation of SEPA Direct Debit While the transition to SEPA Credit Transfer went fairly smoothly, the implementation of SEPA Direct Debit (SDD) has been significantly more difficult, and the benefits have not yet been felt. For instance, some corporates are not at all convinced that the extended cancellation period in the core scheme will lead to more widespread acceptance among consumers. The expectation is that if they wish to cancel transactions, they will do so within several days. For companies, however, the longer cancellation period creates additional uncertainties and risks. On the other hand debtors are reticent to accept the SDD B2B scheme. Because of the irreversibility they fear to give out an open credit. The difficulty with the implementation of SDD is that it necessitates not only technical, but also process adjustments. In countries where direct debit is used extensively, collectors are experiencing difficulties as a result of the differences between banks in this domain. What one bank approves, another rejects. As a result, it takes several days before a collector and debtor know for certain whether a payment has been processed, even if there is sufficient balance and a valid authorisation. If a payment is rejected during the process, the bank has to repeat the entire process again. It would therefore also benefit the banks to harmonise this aspect of the processes. If they decide against this, they will run the risk of no longer being considered the best-equipped parties by the market to take the next logical step, namely introducing e-mandates. Despite the announcements that e-mandates will become available, various corporates are in doubt as to whether this will actually happen in the next few years. Wet signature will remain necessary for the time being For the time being, users of SDD will therefore still be required to provide a wet signature on paper, along with all of the associated paperwork. As a result, the range of direct debit services is considerably out of sync with the options available in IT and business processing. This further reduces the potential benefits of SEPA, namely authorisation based much more heavily on straightthrough processing (STP) through the utilisation of structured data. 8

11 SEPA migration not yet a catalyst for innovation In most cases, organisations have attempted to limit the scale of SEPA migration projects and, in doing so, keep them manageable. Such projects have therefore primarily been the responsibility of payment managers. SEPA has therefore failed to make experts from multiple disciplines consider the next, innovative step, for instance in collaboration with the business. There are organisations that would have liked to have seen this happen, and will be taking this route themselves in the future, but that were unable to do so during this stage due to the limitations of their organisational structure and/or available budgets. Furthermore, payments are not a popular topic in boardrooms. For this reason, the development of a comprehensive view of payments has received little attention so far, and the development of a clear business case for this purpose is even less likely. PSPs: interesting, but not for everyone Services that have been introduced by new or established internet payment service providers (PSPs) on the market are being followed with interest by corporates. However, in light of the risks associated with the scale of corporates operations, some corporates are still reserved when it comes to using these providers. Corporates are sticking to their established practice of doing business with trusted partners who use proven technologies, even if they do realise that younger generations value ease-of-use and functionality over security. That said, various PSPs that also offer omni-channel-style solutions are already enjoying success on the market. u Staying close to home Accordingly, the conclusion is that the benefits expected from standardisation at the domestic level, in particular have not yet been achieved. To date, parties have not utilised the possibilities offered by the SEPA XML standards. Improvements in this domain can often be found close to home, i.e. in the actual payment process. These improvements can increase efficiency right across the payment chain. It is therefore to be expected that, after the implementation of SEPA, the following step in this direction will be taken. With respect to this matter, corporates are initially looking to their banks. For a variety of reasons, however, banks may neither be able nor prepared to go to any lengths when it comes to standardisation. It is highly likely that payment processors and/or payment service providers will fill this void by acting as integrators. The question is what effect this will have at the international level. Do you foresee any changes in payment products in the near future? In our stores, most payments are made by debit card, credit card or cash. And to be honest, we don t see any change for that. We don t expect an increase in the use of SDD across Europe for us. For innovative payments such as mobile payments, we think it is a bit too early, as the regulation for instance, related to getting refunds and the security around it are not really in place yet. Also, the payment fees are not really regulated. This may change by the new PSD2 which is underway, but for now we think it is too early. (Large European retailer) Were you able to reduce the number of banking relationships? For payments and collections, we use about ten banks. At the moment, we are not considering to reduce this number. As a full domestic operator, we don t have the complexity of international operating companies. On the other hand, we have huge collection volumes and for process reasons and for commercial reasons we want to maintain the banking relations where the customers accounts have to be debited. If a foreign bank comes up with a commercially interesting payment proposition, we would evaluate it and could take it into consideration to switch. But at the moment, we prefer not to add further complexity. Our target is strictly committed to compliance and our aim is to maintain our ability to cash. There is also another issue. Since we are merely focused on the domestic market, we use Additional Optional Services that have been developed to verify mandate validity in order to allow banks to collect mandates for our accounts. A proposition from another bank will only be competitive if it covers the service and the price for both the AOS and the collection. (Large telecom provider) Do you foresee organisations other than banks venturing into the payments industry? Yes, for sure! However, for us a bank is also a payment service provider. The non-banks are not so much in scope with us, because regulation, refund routes etcetera are not in place for PSPs yet. We are happy with the service that the banks are delivering. They are more regulated. So we focus on the banks and on the global solutions they are able to offer, not on local solutions. (Large European retailer) 9

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13 Stage 2 Improve: Benefiting from the XML standard Standardised reconciliation information A payments feature that corporates but also smaller enterprises are very much in need of is standardised messages to which invoice data can be added for automated reconciliation. The SEPA XML standard was implemented specifically for these types of features. However, the various domestic adoptions of XML are hindering their development. The corporates will shortly raise this matter at the European level, and request the banking community to resolve it in an energetic manner. Corporates perceive automatic reconciliation as a service that is guaranteed to enable banks to increase their added value. Opportunities for mandate and e-mandate management Corporates also require an effective mandate management system to enable SDDs to be processed as efficiently as possible, preferably STP. In order for this to happen, mandate information needs to enter the payment chain at the earliest possible stage. This could be achieved with a provider-hosted central location for the electronic storage of mandates. Debtors would need to have access to the location in order to be able to adjust mandates. Collectors will also have access in order to be able to verify the validity of the direct debit orders before submission. Before submitting direct debit batches, banks perform a check to ensure that only direct debits with a valid mandate are processed. Debtor banks can also manage these mandates, for instance when an account is being closed. The result is a marked increase in the number of problem-free transactions that can be processed in a fully automated manner. For collectors and debtors, this prevents considerable nuisance and uncertainty, let alone queries, and also duplicate processing and duplicate costs for banks. When will SEPA promises for corporates be fulfilled? not fulfilled fulfilled Pay throughout Europe with less banks and bank accounts Simplified administrative processes and systems Competition leads to lower costs and higher efficiency What is your view on the possibilities for reconciliation? I think it is a really material challenge for all corporates to receive credit transfers with all the information for the reconciliation of the payment inserted. At the next meeting of the European Retail Payment Board, the European Association of Corporate Treasurers will ask the banking system for the interfaces and the infrastructure to develop a solution that allows the payer to send the payment message to the bank with the information of all the items (invoices, debit notes), and have the information transferred to the beneficiary, so that he can manage it for the reconciliation process. (Large telecom provider) Do your suppliers sometimes have difficulties with the reconciliation? When we make a payment to our suppliers, we always send them an advice with the payment information. I think some of them use these for their internal information instead of the bank information. Apart from this, one of our banks also offers our suppliers the service to enter the bank platform with some kind of an ID to get extra information and get the reference numbers. Thanks to these two tools, we have no complaints from the suppliers. Sometimes we have the issue that banks in certain countries do not publish the ultimate debtor information. So suppliers cannot always see from which party the payment is originating. They only see that the payment factory is the remitter of funds. According to the rules, banks should offer this information, but not all banks comply. And that is sometimes a problem for the reconciliation. (Large European retailer) What does it take to fulfill or even exceed them? 1. Comply 2. Improve 3. Benefit Project control No consolidation of accounts yet So far limited standardization SDD brings new challenges No innovations yet Standard reconciliation E-mandates Multi stakeholder mandate management E-invoicing Real time payments Payment supports corporate s proposition / customer profile Risk management /Supply chain financing Omni-payments Bank as trusted partner 11

14 We all expect e-mandates in What is your view? Everybody is wishing for e-mandates, but we are not expecting them, not even in There is simply not just one standard in all SEPA countries. I guess it will take at least some years before e-mandates will be available. Of course, there could be solutions like ideal, or Xero, or MyBank. The idea was to upgrade home banking interfaces like ideal and Realpay to a European level and make them interoperable. That would have been one solution, but the participating banks don t see any business case in that. (Large European logistics services company) Is there a good business case for your company for real-time payments? Sure! Many of our mobile customers have a prepaid contract. When they want to top up their contract, they have to pay immediately. For this, we have a credit card solution that guarantees that the money will arrive. But, of course, this has a high cost. With real-time payments, everything can be solved without using complex schemes that have been built to guarantee the creditor. So, in my opinion, in our industry there is room for such a solution as something that could replace credit cards. (Large telecom provider) Basic principle: data standardisation Corporates anticipate that service providers, including banks, will start collaborating in this domain in order to set up a standardised central facility in conjunction with each other and their clients. In doing so, they will need to tackle the practical hurdle of digitising all of their existing paper mandates. The requisite IT expertise is certainly available. The principle is fairly basic, namely to use the power of the open XML standard to standardise data traffic. The power of XML is its ability to use short standard tags to specify the meaning of a subsequent data string, for instance, a debtor number, invoice number, client number, and whichever definitions are agreed. Such agreements can apply all across the board, along with standards that, for instance, apply in certain industries. The result is that many more types of data can be processed in a fully automated manner. Boost for e-invoicing One service that could be given an enormous boost by structured data is e-invoicing. The differences between the many, usually small, providers in the various countries are slowing down e-invoicing initiatives. The exception in this respect is the Nordic countries, where banks, large enterprises, and certainly also the government, have dynamically taken the initiative. Real-time payments: better service, lower costs For instant services such as the topping up of prepaid mobile contracts, corporate real-time payments will lead to better service and lower costs for the corporates themselves, and their clients. Some corporates accept (expensive) credit card payments to mitigate the risk of non-payment for services that are provided instantly. Real-time payments naturally in combination with the requisite reconciliation information therefore have an important added value for them. Depending on requirements, several implementation options are possible, such as notification only, payment guarantees by means of clearing, or immediate liquidity availability through settlement. B2C: need for omni-channel At the moment, merchants are faced with the challenge of keeping payments manageable and surveyable in shops that are open 24/7 on the internet, with which customers can communicate and do business via a variety of channels. Until now, the various payment flows for credit transfers, direct debits, credit cards, debit cards and mobile and e-payments have largely been received separately. In order to keep the various payment flows surveyable and ensure that they are processed efficiently in the debtor/creditor and financial accounting records, the merchant requires support in the form of an omni-channel solution in simple terms, a single transparent payment channel. Standardisation or innovation? The foundation for improvements of this nature is better standardisation, or, where this is lacking, the integration of the different interpretations of the SEPA standard that currently coexist. Then, through the introduction of a number of additional services, SEPA s promises can gradually become reality. The fact that SEPA has failed at this point may be the biggest single hindrance to innovative breakthroughs. Furthermore, businesses require innovation because it is a prerequisite for the development of new, widely available services. Several integrators now specialise in bridging the gap between the different standards. In doing so, they are facilitating the development of comprehensive solutions for corporates and their clients. 12

15 u Immediate priority: payment processes Reconciliation information, mandate management, e-invoicing and real-time payments are four important domains in which corporates expect support from service providers, in particular their banks. When it comes to payments, these are improvements that remain close to home. Collaboration between the business world and banks, and between service providers, facilitated by specialised integrators, is crucial. For the time being, the priority is to achieve savings by increasing the efficiency of business processes. However, there are opportunities to create value by supporting corporates in their marketing activities. There are also opportunities to based on the payments value chain improve effectiveness in communication with existing and potential customers and increase conversion and retention. It is in the third stage that data exchange via payments supports business through improved and more detailed communications between suppliers and clients. Is it important to you that ACHs extend their smart commerce and mobile payment services in order to cover the whole payment chain? Some ten years ago, we had a wish regarding the different clearing or processing cycles between credit and debit cards: isn t there one partner with the concept and means to process all the payments that we receive from our customers, debit or credit, and leave us alone more or less like this? This wish didn t come true. Credit card clearing of VISA and MasterCard are run separately still, debit schemes run separately, and the poor acquirer is then in-between the brands on one hand, and the processing systems and the requirements of the corporate customer on the other. If a PSP would come up with a service from the debit and credit card-based low-value chain up to the high-value automated clearing house in whatever currency, you are more than welcome! (Large European logistics services company) 13

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17 Stage 3 Benefit: Enhancing the value chain Payments in line with the overall client proposition Everyone realises that data could provide strong support for effective communications between market parties. Some large retailers have been using both physical and online payment data to enhance their relationship with their customers for some time. They use loyalty cards and loyalty programmes to gain the most comprehensive possible picture of the customer, whereas online retailers use specialised services to monitor the behaviour of potential and existing customers on the internet. When it comes to utilising these resources, the retail sector (B2C) is ahead of the B2B segment, although the latter also offers opportunities. The important thing is for companies to stop viewing payments as pure processing that needs to be performed as efficiently as possible, as this turns payments into a commodity that needs to be as cheap as possible. In this context, therefore, there is definite potential. However, there are still major differences in the way in which such use of data is viewed, and the level of social acceptance. Tailoring the method of payment to the customer s profile Another way of utilising payment data is to tailor the method of payment to the customer s profile. Merchants particularly retail chains know that most of their customers have the funds they need to make their purchases. They could therefore allow their customers to initiate credit transfers via the POS that are cheaper to process. The options for existing payment products could also be extended, for instance, to give merchants the option of having credit card payments transferred immediately, against a slightly higher charge. In this context, a bank-neutral, trusted integrator could again fulfil the role of data intermediary. This provides a much more comprehensive image of the customer than when only data from a single bank or company is used. Payment as part of the customer experience There are now several successful integrators operating in the market. However, the transaction volumes they handle are still relatively modest, as the integrators also do not have access to the transaction information that banks have at their disposal. If open standards were to be made public property and this were to lead to mass use, this would encourage many more parties to, for instance, develop enriched payment apps based on open standards. With a wide variety of services, those parties would then focus more heavily on marketing management applications for large, but certainly also smaller merchants, and also services that enhance the customer experience in the relationship between the merchant and the end-customer. At the same time, this would make the difference between the various methods of payment transparent for the end-users. For them, it is either a question of payment or receipt (and reconciliation). The revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) contains proposals for enabling access to payment accounts. In the associated extensive privacy legislation, this clears the way for much broader use of data exchange. B2B: risk management and supply-chain financing In the B2B market, more effective utilisation of structured data in combination with payments can improve the relationships between companies, and between companies and their banks, through improved risk management and supply-chain financing. A number of banks are already active in the latter domain. For instance, in the case of working capital financing, they pass on the favourable credit rating of large corporates to suppliers. If data were to be used more effectively, this process could be enhanced. When will SEPA promises for corporates be fulfilled? not fulfilled fulfilled Pay throughout Europe with less banks and bank accounts Simplified administrative processes and systems Competition leads to lower costs and higher efficiency What does it take to fulfill or even exceed them? 1. Comply 2. Improve 3. Benefit Project control No consolidation of accounts yet So far limited standardization SDD brings new challenges No innovations yet Standard reconciliation E-mandates Multi stakeholder mandate management E-invoicing Real time payments Payment supports corporate s proposition / customer profile Risk management /Supply chain financing Omni-payments Bank as trusted partner 15

18 As a telecom provider, you handle huge payment volumes and send the payments directly to an ACH. Have you considered becoming a payment service provider yourself? Indeed, telecom providers are getting more and more connected with PSPs for online services. But as far as we see it, they are mainly functioning as carriers. Very few have decided to become a true payment institution in order to execute or receive payments for third parties. We think that SEPA could help us in some minor areas. For example, for us direct debit is a major instrument for collecting our bills. But we also sell through the internet and allow people to pay their bills through the internet. In that area, we see the need to develop solutions that allow the competition with credit cards and PayPal as a way to pay. Of course, as a company with millions of consumers and companies as customers, we could find value in connecting them, or offering payment solutions to merchants, to consumers, etcetera. (Large telecom provider) Sharing payment data Currently, a bank only becomes aware of a payment transaction when the client submits it for processing. However, at the majority of companies a payment is already registered in the ERP system the moment the invoice is received, with the instruction to submit it to the bank for execution on date X. If parties (i.e. banks and companies) were to agree to share their payment data at an earlier stage, this would create possibilities for improved risk management and supply-chain financing/working capital financing. This is the case as the structured data in ready payment orders has a high predictive power, and gives additional security to the supplier and the bank providing them with financing. This, amongst other things, creates a solid foundation for providing a company with a bridging loan if it experiences a temporary liquidity deficit. The benefit for large enterprises could be a discount for early invoice payment. Role for integrator Because the creditor and debtor do not necessarily have the same bank, this role could be fulfilled by a central integrator who is preferably not affiliated to a particular bank, to which companies would be required to submit their ready payment orders. This makes data accessible to the banks, enabling them to see in open competition what happens between parties and, based on this, make a data-enabled decision on whether to provide financing. It is, however, important that submitting parties use an XML standard and do not create obstacles with implicit legacy. u Corporates continue to view banks as trusted partners Through the use of structured data and open standards, payments can also support the attainment of higher-quality processes and services, also in the B2B domain. In this respect, corporates are awaiting initiatives from their banks, and are rather than viewing payments as a commodity prepared to pay for added value. Despite the numerous reputation issues that have emerged recently, corporates continue to view banks as trusted partners, also for their payments. What are your expectations in relation to innovations such as digital payments and mobile wallets by payment service providers? When it comes to depositing money, people trust banks. Nobody will transfer his salary to his mobile telephone account or mobile network operator! And you can deal with new apps on a daily basis. But they are not interoperable. The only link that makes it appear to be interoperable is the link to MasterCard or VISA. There is always a link to the bank account. The only solution that I see right now is that the wallet has a standard interface to these kinds of major credit/debit card processing/ schemes. These schemes are dominating the scene still, and they will in the future. I am very sceptical as to whether it is wise to have a wallet on a smartphone. Just think of the different levels of security of the android or IOS ecosystem. The internet or mobile networks were initially not designed to make communication or business processes 100% secure. (Large European logistics services company) 16

19 In conclusion For most corporates, the implementation of SEPA has been a compliance project. Given the current economic climate and the situation on the financial markets, it is understandable that the project had to be of a limited scale and manageable. However, this reduced the potential possibilities and benefits, and as a result SEPA will, for the time being, remain a major investment with few benefits. The investment is currently only benefiting companies that have already consolidated their payment processes and treasury at the international level. Other corporates have already acknowledged that there are definitely benefits. This whitepaper lists the principal needs in the domain of payments, and specifies possible solutions for fulfilling the promises of SEPA for more companies, first of all by improving the efficiency of payment-related business processes. With a number of improvements, particularly in the area of standardisation and integration, internal costs, e.g. for administration and credit management, could be lowered, and competition between payment institutions could be enhanced, making it easier for corporates to organise their finances across the internal borders of Europe. SEPA can be an important facilitator when it comes to options for reinforcing the relationship between corporates and their clients through the exchange of information. In this respect, corporates are likely to welcome individual and joint initiatives involving their banks, although they will keep a close eye on the propositions from the PSP domain. The initial steps have now been taken, and the biggest investment has been made. Provided the market will persevere, this investment can easily be recouped. This way, the promises of SEPA can be fulfilled, and subsequently used to help payments improve business and relationships with customers. About Equens Equens SE is one of the largest payment processors in Europe, leading the market for future-proof payment and card solutions. The European payments market is rapidly evolving. This results in considerable challenges for banks and financial institutions in terms of compliance, increased complexity and cost pressure. We recognise these market demands, and are fully geared to support our clients in the challenges they are facing. We are dedicated to the standardisation and harmonisation of European and global payments. With offices in five countries the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Finland and the United Kingdom Equens understands European and local market needs better than anyone. We offer European market coverage and have clients and partnerships in multiple European countries. Our strategy is geared towards further growth and economies of scale, with the aim of providing value and sustainable benefits to our clients now and in the future. About EY Today, EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 175,000 people are united by our shared values, which inspire and help our people to always do the right thing, and by an unwavering commitment to quality, which is embedded into who we are and everything we do. EY is keen to contribute to building a better working world for our people, our clients and the wider community. Our reputation is built on assembling multi-disciplinary teams from around the world to deliver a global perspective. We operate as the most globally integrated firm, with one methodology, across all our geographical areas. It s a structure that enables us to mobilize our people quickly, and allocate them to projects in the right place, at the right time. Through our industry-focused approach and worldwide reach, we help clients like you manage risk, improve performance and sustain the results. 17

20 Sound solutions, solid results

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