When creating innovative solutions for our business clients, the typical focus is on flexibility or speed – today we are super charging both. Real-Time Payments (RTP) is a payment option that can send money between bank accounts in seconds using the RTP® Network. This offers businesses and individuals the immediacy of a payment experience, without the cost of the card networks. Dwolla was founded on a mission to provide companies simple and affordable payment solutions. ACH is our cornerstone and clients love the elegance of the API to unlock their business potential. Real-time payments are the game changing addition to the Dwolla platform.
Businesses approach us everyday looking to build a modernized and simplified payment experience, ranging from an accounts payable team cutting paper checks for services rendered to contractors, to a fully automated application built by an emerging Fintech looking to disrupt a market. Our clients choose the Dwolla platform to propel a business idea. In order to advance their own goals, businesses need a solution that can offer the table stakes and the emerging payment solutions. With a movement towards cost savings and automation, it is estimated that 85.3% of firms are planning on implementing real-time payments within the next 3 years.
So while businesses are upgrading their legacy systems, the expectation now is also a top of the line service like RTP. Additionally, the global pandemic has resulted in many businesses shifting focus to digitizing their payments, further amplifying the immediate need for better solutions.
Faster Payments Globally
Worldwide, 54 countries have activated real-time payments. Japan was the leader, offering Zengin in 1973. Since then, adoption and considerable growth in Australia, Europe, India and China is evidence of faster payments place in a maturing global economy. China alone processed over 16 billion real-time transactions in 2019. While real-time payments may be new to the domestic scene, it has proven value to accelerate business models, globally.
While enabling electronic transfers via the ACH Network has been the foundation of our success, we couldn’t be more thrilled to introduce real-time transfers from bank accounts through the RTP® Network. The Dwolla team has been focused on how to unlock the capabilities of the banking infrastructure for more than a decade. A move into instant payments has traditionally meant adopting a card experience, diverting from who we are and what we offer. RTP provides a way to allow our clients to offer the immediacy of the card networks, while embracing the security of a good funds model. By partnering with innovative financial institutions to perform our clients’ funds transfers, we are applying the simplicity of Dwolla to unlock the RTP® Network.
The Clearing House’s (TCH’s) RTP® Network provides our customers an equivalent to other alternatives in the international landscape. Introduced in 2017, the RTP® Network has evolved into a truly sophisticated business product that our clients desire.
In 2012, we launched FiSync which allowed instant transfers across participating banks. As the product lead on several FiSync initiatives (including the BBVA launch in 2015), I can attest that we knew Dwolla was on the brink of something special. The energy in the air when we demonstrated to the company that a real-time payment could occur between banks was unforgettable. Everyone that joins Dwolla has a drive to make a great payment experience, but we found that the industry was not quite ready for real-time payments.
Faster Payments Proposal
As pioneers in real-time payments, the Dwolla team leveraged our experiences to influence at the highest level. In 2016, Dwolla submitted a proposal focused on how the Federal Reserve could construct an instant payment system in the US, leveraging findings from the international landscape and hands-on experience. As part of the larger task force, Dwolla’s perspective on faster payments undoubtedly helped shape what faster payments look like in the United States.
Building on our proposal for the U.S. payments system, Dwolla received another opportunity to demonstrate how instant payments may work on a whole new level. Initially named “The Level One Project”, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation called upon the industry to help level the playing field in payments. The mission was to build a solution to provide developing countries with the same sophisticated technologies that fuel real-time payments. Dwolla was one of the initial contributors to the Mojaloop project, focused on the epicenter of “central services” that powered and created a foundation for many more to contribute. Today, the project continues its momentum as a standalone foundation with a community of contributors to a noble mission of providing everyone with sophisticated, reliable and faster payments.
You have to believe that the dots will somehow connect in the future.
At Dwolla, “we are never done.” We continue to strive for ways to simplify payments for our customers. With real-time transfers, Dwolla has the experience and expertise to know what a quality experience looks like and the RTP® Network delivers.
Why are we so excited to offer Real-Time Payments?
Funds are available in real-time, without waiting. The timeliness means no delays for time in transit as compared to the traditional avenues. With real-time payments, you can send a payment and the funds become available within seconds to the recipient. This is critical to meet ever-changing customer expectations — for example, rideshare workers getting paid right after the job is complete.
Our society is no longer a 9-5, Monday through Friday economy. Contractors complete jobs throughout the weekend and with 24/7/365 availability, their payments can keep pace. Whether it is late night, weekend work or a banking holiday, real-time payments are available for your business.
Returns and chargebacks can be a challenge to any business that is trying to manage an efficient payment experience. With RTP, the transactions are near instantaneous and final. The payment finality allows you to confidently close your books on time, reducing the uncertainty of the next fiscal period.
Finance teams enjoy the benefits of real-time payments. Sending RTP transfers allows businesses to better manage their operations and cash flow. This means that the cash is in the bank account when you want it to be and not held up by the banks’ funds validation processes. No more planning for 3-5 business days for an insurance claims payment. Instead, the money is sent and received in real time.
Robust Data Insights
Real-time transfers provide greater transparency, allowing businesses to add contextual information. Information that traces back to business operations (e.g. invoice numbers) can be sent with the payment, rather than stored in a separate system. ACH and other modalities offer some add-on capabilities, but the RTP® Network is designed with business needs in mind.
How do we plan to offer a quality RTP experience?
Understanding the considerable value in the RTP® Network to a modern payments experience, Dwolla provides the tools to make the customer experience simple.
A single integration with Dwolla connects you to the power of RTP or the cost savings of ACH, there is only one integration with the Dwolla Platform. Leveraging the services provided by our financial institution partners, businesses can rely on our API to offer speed when it counts (and use more cost-conscious payments when speed isn’t essential). For existing customers, changing a payment from ACH to RTP is as simple as adding a single line of code. Onboarding end users, verifying bank accounts, and initiating transfers can all be used for both RTP and ACH. The integration is simple and we take care of the complexity of the different payment networks through our financial institution partners.
We work with financial institutions, so our clients can make transactions using their existing bank accounts. Businesses utilizing the Dwolla platform take advantage of a modern payments platform that offers progressive features without disrupting their day-to-day operations. By creating transparency with webhooks notifications and a dashboard experience, we aim for you to get payment from Bank A to Bank B, however you want.
Today the Dwolla Platform took a leap toward the future of payments. Offering RTP in conjunction with ACH and other modalities will truly revolutionize the business payment experience. We have spent years active in the industry refining our own approach. Today we offer the same quality experience you have grown accustomed to with the Dwolla Platform. It took the right network, the right financial institution partners and the right customer expectations to truly cultivate a special offering. Will you continue to help us to build a “world that can move money simply and securely?”