Written by: Paul Camp | CEO of BNY Mellon Treasury Services
All of us, including our clients and their customers, are on an extraordinary digital journey. Expectations of speed and immediacy are defining traits of modern life. Whether we’re shopping online, catching up on the news, or texting our friends and family, we expect our technology to work smoothly and without delay.
The world of payments is evolving just as dramatically, in large part because payments are at the center of every economic transaction. Our clients and their customers want immediate results, and they want the efficiency that comes with faster execution of payments.
BNY Mellon is committed to innovation in real-time payments (RTPs) because it helps our corporate clients free up working capital, improve their customers’ experiences and gain competitive advantage. For our financial institution clients, meanwhile, tapping into our RTP skills and solutions is a way to leapfrog ahead of competitors. They can gain an edge without making significant investments, because we’ve already invested in innovation for them.
Behind every RTP is a web of communications—the standards, protocols and tools that power them. These communications, known as application programming interfaces or APIs, have become central to how banks execute transactions with each other and their clients. APIs are the framework on which banks create services that in turn deliver an exceptional client experience, with benefits including speed, automation, transparency, integration and flexibility.
BNY Mellon Treasury Services took a leap into the future of payments last year when we deployed our real-time payments solution, designed in consultation with The Clearing House. RTP is built on an API that allows customers to send and receive funds and messages 24/7/365, directly from their bank accounts.
How transformative is this? RTP is the first entirely new payment infrastructure, or “payment rail,” in the U.S. in 40 years. It allows people to exchange payments more quickly, more safely, and more efficiently than via current methods.
Using the APIs underlying RTP, our clients can initiate requests to create a payment directly from their treasury system or their enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. They can also allow clients to request FX rates, do a transaction search, or make balance inquiries immediately, with their systems talking to ours.
Our clients can also receive intraday balance reporting and payment activity feeds directly to their internal business applications, as well as monthly statements, payment issues alerts and lockbox image feeds. We have built or are building APIs with our clients doing these things today, and it’s just the beginning.
As real-time payments take hold, APIs are changing the nature of how we partner with clients. Ultimately, they also set the stage to leverage automation, including artificial intelligence to analyze data and create new value-added services. We’re working with clients to imagine this future together.