Request to Pay – the economy needs this standard

On 15 June 2021, the new European standard for electronic payment requests Request to Pay (RTP) transformed from a theoretical construct to a practical reality. On that day, the SEPA Request to Pay (SRTP) rulebook came into force. The Euro Banking Association (EBA) in particular had been working hard on the project. It is only understandable that the organisation also wanted to know whether there are many companies in the economy that want to use RTP in the near future. In September 2020, EBA launched a large-scale survey of companies across Europe with PPI as a partner. The results recently published under the title "Request to Pay: What Corporates Want" are not surprising in their tendency, but in their consistency. Almost 100 per cent of the companies are interested in using the standard. What is important for them above all is uniform usability throughout Europe. Not surprising – after all, 70 per cent of the companies surveyed also want to use RTP for cross-border payments.

The main part of the survey revolved around the companies' assessments of the use of RTP in the fields point of sale (POS), e-commerce, e-invoicing and recurring payments. Here, too, attitudes towards the standard were clearly positive across the board. In all the areas surveyed, over 80 per cent of participants could at least imagine using RTP. In the area of e-commerce, the quota was even over 90 per cent.

At the same time, the EBA and we wanted to know what could make RTP even more attractive for companies. The answers revealed a number of possible improvements. The main aspects are standardisation of procedures, offering value-added services, end-user acceptance, risk management and clear prospects for the future. 

The latter also includes the most frequent requests for additional features: quickly achieving a high market penetration, integration into standardised, fully automated processes that are, for example, embedded in ERP systems, as well as use in combination with instant payments or other payment guarantee options. Of course, no vendor wants to let a customer leave with the goods if they do not have the money yet. If, however, buyers had to wait until the corresponding amount was credited to the seller's account, the acceptance of RTP, especially at the point of sale, would probably be close to zero. In this case, it might be necessary to examine whether the notification of the accepted or instructed RTP can be designed as a legally binding payment guarantee.

The companies surveyed see an additional benefit in the possibility to include structured remittance information in the data record. This facilitates the allocation of incoming payments to specific transactions within a goods management system and is a prerequisite for fully digitalised, largely automated invoicing and payment processes. Furthermore, companies see RTP as a good opportunity for significantly more direct downstream communication between sellers and buyers of goods and services: for example, 43 per cent can imagine transferring warranty or return information with the data record.

In total, companies from 20 European countries took part in the survey, two thirds of which generate a turnover of 50 million euros or more. A download link to the free final report "Request to Pay: What Corporates Want" as well as further information on RTP can be found here:

Authors: Eric Waller, Anuschka Clasen


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