Real-time notifications and EBICS – no more "hopeful queries" for downloads

As I already wrote in my blog post in December 2018, real-time credit transfers (instant payments) in the corporate customer business are making their way into the world of EBICS via the new bulk format. When uploading real-time credit transfers, the EBICS transfer phase is not subject to the strict synchronous time rules of instant payments. The clock starts ticking only after the EBICS bank server processing.

But what about the opposite direction for instant payments business transactions in EBICS? After all, a credit notification, if not possible in real time, should still be sent to the payment recipient as soon as possible. In the standard role relationship between customer and bank, the EBICS client always downloads the information from the bank server. An active provision by the bank via EBICS is not intended. Especially the business community has urged the banks and the German Banking Industry Committee (Deutsche Kreditwirtschaft) to find a pragmatic solution for a push option. The ultimate goal was to develop a solution that could be implemented without the need to change the EBICS protocol and the role concept.

The result was the idea to create a new web socket-based standard interface that informs EBICS clients when new information is available for download. This also includes information about a newly available credit notification. This new push channel is thus not used to transfer any sensitive data. The download of the relevant sensitive data is still carried out via the secure EBICS channel.

In the meantime, the Deutsche Kreditwirtschaft has described this new interface in the "Spezifikation Echtzeitbenachrichtigungen" (specification for real-time notifications) and published version 1.0 on July 18, 2019 on the German EBICS website (www.ebics.de).

Now the interface must be implemented in the EBICS clients and EBICS servers in a standard-compliant and timely manner. This development opens up new possibilities for optimising corporate customer business, even independently of instant payments. For example, the frequent and ongoing "hopeful queries" by automated EBICS clients (as performed in case of account statement downloads) can be eliminated for all download processes. This means that both EBICS client users and bank server operators can expect a load reduction. That's good news, isn't it?


Author: Michael Lembcke
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