In a survey of UK payments users (World Class Payments Report, Payments UK, www.paymentsuk.org.uk), customers expressed the need for “more choice and control over the timing and method of their payments”. Payments UK identified four capabilities as priorities for giving customers more control, simpler access, better information and improved confidence in their payments. One of those priorities is request-to-pay (RtP), which is a core capability of the Bluechain solution.

A request-to-pay (RtP) is a request for payment sent from one party (the requestor) to a second party (the approver). An RtP can be person-to-person (P2P), business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B), government-to-person (G2P) or government-to-business (G2B). In every payment scenario, RtP gives customers increased choice and greater control over the timing, recurrence and method of payments, including the ability to:

  • confirm the requestor’s details
  • view the request and any associated information
  • accept or reject the request
  • choose when to pay
  • schedule a payment for a future date
  • set up a recurring payment
  • choose their payment method

“If [RtP] is combined with the other…priority capabilities of Enhanced Data and Confirmation of Payee, the potential exists to deliver a suite of new benefits for customers delivering greater flexibility, convenience and money management.” Payments UK

More choice, better control

Consider the following payment scenarios and how an RtP offers customers more choice and better control over conventional payment methods:

Buy in-store

Conventional RtP RtP benefits
Customer taps debit/credit card on NFC terminal. Customer accepts request displayed on their mobile phone. Choice. Pay from any funding source; customer can choose funding sources that don’t have an associated card.
Trust. Account details are never disclosed to merchant (eliminate skimming fraud risk).
Convenience. Invoice is included with request, which can be viewed in the app.
No charge-backs. The customer has confirmed their identity and approved the transaction.

Buy online

Conventional RtP RtP benefits
Customer types debit/credit card details into payment portal. Customer accepts request displayed on their mobile phone. Trust. Account details are never disclosed to merchant (eliminate CNP, COF fraud risk).
No charge-backs. The customer has confirmed their identity and approved the transaction.
Choice. Pay from any funding source.
Simple. Same payment and security process as in-store.

Share a restaurant bill

Conventional RtP RtP benefits
Either the restaurant agrees to split the bill or one customer pays the other in cash. One party pays and requests cashless contributions from other diners using Bluechain. Choice. Pay from any funding source.
Cashless. No need for cash.
Hassle-free. Send your friends a request once.  The request will stay in the app until they pay.  No need for embarrassing follow up reminders.

Pay a utility bill

Conventional RtP RtP benefits
Customer either logs into their bank and makes a push payment using the bank’s bill payment system or the customer logs into the biller’s website and provides the details of a debit/credit card. Request is displayed on the customer’s device, and they schedule the payment for the due date. Choice. Pay from any funding source.
Control. Schedule payment for due date.
Convenience. Request includes invoice, which customer can view in the app.
Trust. Account details are never disclosed (eliminate data breach risk).
Intelligence. Utility company sees who has paid or scheduled payment and only follows up those who don’t action or reject payment.

Pay an invoice

Conventional RtP RtP benefits
Customer logs into their bank and makes a push payment using the bank’s bill payment system. Request is displayed on the customer’s device, and they schedule the payment for the due date. Choice. Pay from any funding source.
Control. Schedule payment for due date.
Convenience. Request includes invoice, which customer can view in the app.
Trust. Account details are never disclosed (eliminate data breach risk).
Confidence. Identity of biller is confirmed (eliminate APP fraud)

Set up a monthly payment of an insurance premium

Conventional RtP RtP benefits
Insurance company gets customer to sign a direct debit authority and payment is made automatically every month without involvement of the customer. Request from insurance company is displayed on customer’s device every month, which they can choose to pay immediately, schedule for another day, ignore, or cancel. Choice. Pay from any funding source.
Control. Reschedule or cancel at any time.
Trust. Account details are never disclosed (eliminate data breach risk).

Set up a regular donation

Conventional RtP RtP benefits
Donor typically provides account details over the phone or in person or types into charity website. Request is displayed on donor’s device every month, which they can choose to accept, reschedule, ignore, or cancel. Control. Donor keeps full control, authorises every donation and can cancel at any time.
Simplicity. Request goes directly to donor’s mobile. They just tap once to accept each payment: no need to enter card details or log in to a bank account.
Identity. Donor’s identity is never disclosed to charity.
Trust. Charity’s identity is confirmed.

Make a donation to volunteer in the street

Conventional RtP RtP benefits
Donor hands cash to volunteer. One-time request to donate is displayed on donor’s device. Convenience. No cash required.
Trust. Identity of charity is confirmed.
Identity. Donor can remain completely anonymous (just like cash).

The size of the RtP opportunity is large, well beyond conventional payment scenarios, and include in-store point-of-sale (POS), nearby and remote P2P, B2C, B2B, G2P and G2B payments, card-not-present (CNP) online and over-the-phone purchases, bill payments, one-off donations to volunteers, regular donations to a charity, and more.

Conventional payment methods, which are predominantly based on card-based technologies, suffer from a lack of features or a lack of trust or both:

  • CNP payments are the major cause of card fraud
  • Card-on-file (COF) exposes consumers to data breach risk
  • POS hardware is expensive to install and operate
  • Authorised push payment (APP) fraud rate is on the rise
  • Direct debit and COF arrangements are difficult to change or cancel
  • Direct debit and COF exposes consumers to high fees when payment fails due to lack of funds

Benefits for both the consumer and the biller

By coupling strong security measures with improved visibility of future payments and the ability to control the timing and source of the payment, RtP has the potential to significantly improve the consumer experience when making one-off and regular payments.

And the enhanced data features of RtP has the potential to provide corporates, charities and government agencies with intelligent data on the status of their current debtors/donors, especially those who do not wish to use direct debits. The “billing intelligence” capabilities of RtP are a powerful business tool that can transform cash flow management by enabling the biller to:

  • interrogate the status of their customers’, donors’ or clients’ payments,
  • identify how much is scheduled for payment on a particular day,
  • target those who have ignored or deferred payment until after the due date,
  • improve debtors recovery with a simplified and secure payment process,
  • reduce the cost of chasing late payments with automated reminders that go direct to the payment app.

“Prompt payment is critical to the functioning of businesses and supply chains. Therefore Request to Pay has the potential to play an important role for businesses, by providing them with greater choice, control and flexibility over payment methods, and the scope to improve their e-invoicing and reconciliation processes”. Dr Adam Marshall, Acting Director-General, British Chambers of Commerce

Bluechain: universal RtP

Bluechain request-to-pay (RtP) technology enables businesses and consumers to send, receive and approve payment requests securely over any open channel. The Bluechain RtP solution is universal, with applications in every payment or donation scenario:

  • In-store. The Bluechain POS solution sets new benchmarks for affordability and security. Merchants can use any smart device to process transactions, so there’s no need for expensive terminals. Even the smallest merchants can process payments using their existing phone or tablet.
  • Online. The Bluechain webstore solution eliminates the common causes of fraud in card-not-present transactions: all e-commerce and m-commerce transactions use the same, simple and secure RtP as in-store purchases.
  • Billing. The Bluechain intelligent billing solution provides billers with updates on their customers’ intent to pay in real time giving unparalleled insight into cash flow risk. Billers are continuously informed as their customers accept, schedule and reject e-bills and invoice payments.
  • Donations. The Bluechain donors solution enables charities to inexpensively issue, track and reconcile donations requests. A request-to-donate can be transmitted via Bluetooth in person by a volunteer or sent direct to an existing donor’s smartphone or to new donors via email and SMS.