By: Ian Mcallister, Head of Customer Success
An Interview with Carl Slabicki, Director and Product Line Manager at BNY Mellon for Immediate Payments
Some consumers don’t know that Zelle® is more than a person-to-person payment network. Businesses and financial institutions (FIs) can take advantage of Disbursements with Zelle to offer corporate clients a way to quickly and securely send digital payments to customers and employees.
Multiple wholesale banks and treasury departments have been sending transactions to their customers using our technology. They tell us that Zelle is a great way for their businesses to modernize their payments infrastructure to quickly, easily and safely send funds to customers while reducing the cost of paper checks. Use cases include insurance payouts, rebates, refunds, regular and emergency payroll, tipping payouts and much more.
One of the early companies to offer Disbursements with Zelle was BNY Mellon. I had a chance to catch up with Carl Slabicki, Director and Product Line Manager at BNY Mellon for Immediate Payments to learn more about how their corporate clients have quickly adopted Zelle.
Ian: You guys are always launching new innovation and are ready to test new technology. What is new and exciting at BNY that our readers should know about it?
In the alias-based payments arena, we have offered a Disbursements with Zelle product that we call “Tokenized Payments® now available with Zelle,” since December of 2017. We make the service directly available to both our corporate and financial institution clients so that they can make fast and secure payments to individuals.
Beyond alias based payments, we also take a lot of pride in our role as an innovator with The Clearing House (TCH) Real-Time Payments (RTP) network. RTP is the first new clearing and settlement rail for the U.S. since the ACH network was introduced in 1974. On November 13, 2017, we originated the very first RTP payment. On May 24, 2018, we were the first bank to offer Request for Payment messaging capabilities over RTP. These messages increase the level of transparency and interactivity within a payment transaction and we believe they will open up significant creativity from our clients in how they apply them to their business needs.
Finally, we have also taken a leading role in SWIFT’s Global Payments Innovation (GPI) initiative. Combined with other payment innovations, GPI is aiming to transform international payments. Ultimately, we expect to see cross-border real-time transactions across a greater pool of currencies, allowing more corporate clients to benefit from better liquidity and risk mitigation, and a more seamless global payments ecosystem.
Ian: What are your clients asking you for in the payment space and why?
Carl: More than anything else, clients tell us they are looking for guidance to help them understand how they can leverage these new payment capabilities and to find new and innovative ways to extract value from payment processing.
Regardless of the specific innovation, they seek speed, transparency, ease of use for their customers and finality with their payments. In research we completed last fall, the consensus was clear; clients want a simple, intuitive banking service that can be accessed by customers at the right time, when they need it, as part of their day-to-day business or personal transactions, with the various components brought together by their financial provider to create a seamless end-to-end customer experience.
They also want to capitalize on the opportunity of smarter payments with enhanced intelligence services. Good payment data helps them better identify business opportunities, understand customer behavior, monitor activity and liquidity, and create efficiencies via straight-through processing, transparency and speed. Reaching this end requires a service mix that solves for each client’s unique requirements in a flexible, cost-efficient and seamless manner. But the underlying themes are consistent.
Ian: What have been the challenges you faced with changes in the payments industry?
Carl: BNY Mellon chose early on in the process to focus on education first to overcome the biggest challenge in payments evolution. While the demand has been there for quite some time, we realized there were a lot of misconceptions and sources of confusion in the industry. We made a conscious choice to act as thought leaders and began actively educating our clients, prospects, and partners about the potential for new payment technologies and an evolving payments ecosystem. This strategy helped us see real progress early on with overcoming the challenges of adoption and change.
Ian: Are you seeing a difference in client’s use of checks?
Carl: We do see clients continuing to look to alias based solutions to reduce issues with cost, speed, and the overall payments experience. That includes a lower reliance on checks.
Ian: What are some of the popular use cases you are seeing with Zelle?
Carl: Business-to-Consumer disbursements have been a major area of focus for us. This area includes a wide range of use cases including rebates, refunds, claims, account distributions, required investment distributions, expense reimbursements and hourly or temporary staff payroll.
Ian: What is some of the feedback you are hearing from your clients on the product?
Carl: They are surprised by how fast the notification and payment actually reaches the receiver. When you can notify your customer, employee, business partner, etc. instantly with a payment notification and, in many cases, have funds deposited directly in their account usually within minutes it creates a drastically different experience than what they are used to. The value, speed, and ease of use have been well received.
Ian: Why did you choose to work with Early Warning on Disbursements with Zelle?
Carl: We regularly work with partners to deliver competitive and value-added services to the market. In addition, many payment innovations, including alias based payments, benefit from critical mass and network effects. Working with a network that already has scale, brand recognition and reach provides greater value to our clients in a secure and trusted solution.
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