Tipping the Scales Toward Electronic Payments - Finally

           Tipping the Scales Toward Electronic Payments - Finally

New technologies are increasing the demand from vendors, as well as payers,
for corporate e-payments

PR Newswire

PROVIDENCE, R.I., April 23, 2013

PROVIDENCE, R.I., April 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- "People have been talking
about the 'demise of checks' for years in the payments space, but paper-based
payments have been holding on for dear life despite all predictions to the
contrary," says James Gifas, head of RBS Citizens Treasury Solutions.
"Finally, however, the ground is shifting."

"The pain points that have kept companies using checks – long past what many
predicted – are now disappearing," says Mr. Gifas. "There is a fundamental
change underway in the way banks and technology providers are approaching the
corporate payments equation."

"Traditionally, the focus has been on the 'supply side' – the companies making
payments. Their accounts payables departments have done their best to
implement the latest innovations for payments – through ACH and corporate
cards.

"But the real influencer of adoption rates in the area of payment innovations
has been the vendor side. Until recently, many vendors continued to accept
only checks for payment, with sporadic acceptance of ACH depending on their
systems' ability to process and apply payment – so the demand just wasn't
there.

"Now, with, the emergence of new technology systems and electronic payments
networks, the focus has shifted to the vendors receiving payments – and their
pain points. This shift is finally creating the tipping point the industry
needed in order to change."

What were the primary factors preventing an earlier move away from checks?
Mr. Gifas explains several:

1.Onboarding challenges – "Companies felt that migrating to electronic
    payments networks in the interest of e-payments was a huge hurdle. Who was
    going to take care of this logistically?"
2.Bandwidth and cost issues – "For many companies, the thought of having to
    implement new accounts receivable systems to accept e-payments was
    daunting. How was this going to be managed – or paid for?"
3.Reluctance to "be first" – "Before significant numbers of companies signed
    up for payments networks, there was apprehension about being one of the
    early adopters. Who knew how well the e-payments systems were going to
    work?"

Now, says Mr. Gifas, changes in the technology have addressed these concerns.
"The initial reluctance to move away from checks has almost completely
disappeared."

What are the factors driving the shift toward e-payments?

  o"First," says Mr. Gifas, "payments networks themselves, such as Bottomline
    Technologies' Paymode-X, have mitigated the corporate burden of onboarding
    suppliers by assuming the process on their end, and making it easy for
    companies to enroll. The process becomes a lot smoother than companies
    expect.
  o"Second, companies are realizing that they don't have to overhaul their
    internal operations: they can keep their current invoicing systems – and
    this is often the most complicated piece of the picture. So they don't
    have to spend money to revamp their invoicing.
  o"And, finally, with thousands of suppliers enrolled in these payments
    networks, the scale is there. Paymode-X alone has more than 200,000
    companies on board, with 3,000 new members each month."
  o"Vendors are also recognizing the significant advantages that come with
    e-payments, including reduction in error, fraud, and the time needed for
    funds to clear. These benefits are creating a demand, incentive, and
    significant opportunity for a payments change in a way that we have not
    seen before."
  oFor companies making the payments, he says, there are bottom-line benefits
    in paying through a network. "Companies issuing payments through
    e-payables networks see this as a dollars and cents equation. Instead of
    the traditional model of paying a fee to issue payments to their vendors,
    companies can actually get paid."

"This is an exciting time for the payments space, with substantive change in
the way both accounts receivable and accounts payable are approaching the
transaction. The 'demise of checks' is no longer just a long-running cliche,
but a reality for companies big and small."

James Gifas is the head of RBS Citizens Treasury Solutions, which recently
launched the accessPAYMODE-X e-payments service for its corporate customers.
Mr. Gifas was named to Global Finance magazine's "Who's Who in Treasury & Cash
Management." He spoke recently at both the McKinsey Cash Management Forum in
Atlanta and the Mobey Forum in San Francisco.

For more information, please contact Davia Temin or Suzanne Oaks of Temin and
Company at 212-588-8788 or news@temin.co.

About RBS Citizens Financial Group, Inc.
RBS Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is a $127 billion commercial bank holding
company. It is headquartered in Providence, R.I., and through its subsidiaries
has approximately 1,400 branches, approximately 3,600 ATMs and more than
19,000 colleagues. Its two bank subsidiaries are RBS Citizens, N.A., and
Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. They operate a 12-state branch network under
the Citizens Bank brand in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New
Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont; and
the Charter One brand in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. RBSCFG has non-branch
retail and commercial offices in more than 30 states. RBSCFG is owned by RBS
(the Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc). RBSCFG's website is citizensbank.com.

SOURCE RBS Citizens Financial Group, Inc.

Website: http://www.citizensbank.com
 
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