Thursday, 17 January 2019

In the US, more and more companies are realizing that to meet their customers’ expectations – and improve their own efficiency – they need to embrace digital payments. The good news is that development of open payment APIs is making that process simpler than ever before. At BBVA Open Platform, online provider of banking services Simple, payments company Modo and savings company Digit are all using our Move Money technology to process payments quickly and easily on behalf of their customers.

64% of business-to- business payments are still made using paper checks

But there is still a long way to go. As we noted in a recent blog, 64% of business-to- business payments are still made using paper checks. A huge variety of companies, from tiny startups to large corporations, could benefit from the ability to quickly send and receive funds via ACH, send funds in real time or make electronic bill payments to US companies. This is all possible with the Move Money API.

The opportunity is certainly not confined to firms in the payments and banking space

The opportunity is certainly not confined to firms in the payments and banking space. There’s great potential for companies across a wide range of different industries to leverage the services of open payment APIs. So we asked Open Platform’s Head of Product, Susan French, what types of companies might benefit from open payment APIs in the future and for what purposes:

Q: How might companies use open payment APIs in the next few years?

A: There are a lot of different reasons why businesses might need to send or receive money easily. They might need to pay employee salaries, pay commissions to a marketplace, split fees with gig workers or pay suppliers for goods and services. They might want to pay individuals for services they provide or for goods they sell. Companies may want to enable consumers to redeem their loyalty points, receive rebates from merchants or turn vouchers into available funds. They may want to disburse loan proceeds, make insurance claims payments or send expense reimbursements to employees or customers.

Equally, a business may need to collect fees from consumers or businesses, such as subscriptions, service fees, insurance premiums or monthly dues. A social app may collect funds from individuals or businesses who want to share a common expense (such as a dinner bill, a group vacation, a charitable contribution or to purchase a common asset).

Q: You mention that insurance companies could use open payment APIs to make payments on insurance claims. Which industry sectors could particularly benefit from API-enabled payments that aren’t using this technology right now?

A:  Almost any business that needs to disburse funds to consumers or other businesses can benefit from API-enabled payments. Two in particular stand out. First, businesses that today disburse primarily with paper checks — insurance, health care, T&E expense reimbursements, loan proceeds, government fees and taxes. The cost savings of replacing paper checks with API-enabled electronic payments are enormous. Second, gig economy businesses (one of the largest growing segments), where speed is important and payments to workers or contractors have unpredictable amounts and timing, so are not easily done through a typical payroll or accounts payable system.  Think car sharers, dog walkers, food deliverers, occasional construction workers, home arts and crafts makers, the guys who pick up and recharge electric scooters every night, and many more.

Q: Where do you see the biggest potential for growth in the digital payments market in the next couple of years? Is it real-time card-to-card payments? ACH? Something else?

A:  In our view, the biggest trend we see is toward more ubiquitous real-time or near real-time payments to both consumers and businesses. With the consistent growth in both Visa and Mastercard push payments that leverage their respective global networks and connectivity, with the growing adoption of mobile consumer P2P payment services (like Zelle, Venmo, and Square Cash), and with the 2018 launch of TCH’s Real Time Payments network, the US will soon begin to catch up with much of the rest of the world in being able to deliver faster payments.


We’d love to answer any questions you may have about digital payments and explain how Open Platform’s Move Money API could help your business get ahead. Contact us here.

–The Open Platform team


Susan French

Head of Product, Open Platform

Susan is a payment, digital commerce and financial services expert, with an unparalleled understanding of what fintech companies navigating this landscape want from an API platform – and how to deliver it. Susan has been working in the financial services sector for more than 25 years, most recently leading the team that created and launched Visa’s Developer Program, a suite of APIs that opened up Visa’s network to all developers, from startups to large financial institutions. A former CTO, Head of Enterprise Architecture and Technology Strategist at Visa, Susan also worked as Chief Operating Officer at Euphorion, a website design and development startup in Silicon Valley, and started her own independent consulting business.


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