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Real time disbursements will double in 2022. Are you up to speed?

New push-to-debit payment capabilities to spur growth in real time account-to-account (A2A) payment solutions for companies.


After explosive growth in 2021, real-time payments are expected to at least double in 2022.  Indeed, payment distribution has finally entered the streaming era.  Just as instant interactions and on-demand encounters shape most consumer and business expectations these days, how we pay and get paid should be instant, on-demand and easy.

According to PYMNTS’ research, real-time disbursements accounted for 17% of all disbursements made in 2021, up from 5.7% last year. That trend is expected to continue with the availability of more real-time methods for businesses.

Demand for Instant Access 

Individuals are willing to pay for instant access to funds in an account.  One PYMNTS study found that 49% would be willing to pay a fee to choose their method of payment in order to get paid more quickly — and both the value and potential use cases for real-time payments extend far beyond the confines of simply being able to get (or send) money in an emergency.

Speed is clearly part of the equation. However, choice and control are also key reasons for the willingness to pay for real-time transactions.  Payees prefer to have their choice of payment methods yet the study reports 36% were given no options and only 21% were given four or more options.  Digital wallets give them the ability to  to control both time and method of using their payment, choosing among direct digital transfers, account-to-account (A2A) transfers or transfers to non-digital formats such as paper checks or plastic prepaid debit cards. 

Consumer Trends Drive  B2B Expectations 

Business users have become conditioned by their consumer experiences. Just as streaming services offering instant access to movies at home made going to the theater to see a new movie unnecessary, they’re quickly beginning to expect the same for getting paid or receiving rewards. Once a user is exposed to real-time, instant payments, the harder it becomes to go back to slower alternatives.   

Are You Ready?  

In a recent interview, Elena Whisler, senior vice president at The Clearing House (TCH) told PYMNTS, “To gain critical mass you need the customer demand, the customer push for [real-time payments], but at the same time, you need businesses … to offer it.” 

She continued to reflect that while real-time payments are still in their early stages and driven largely by customer demand, the trend is clear and experts see their rapid adoption driven by growth in the account-to-account (A2A) space and corporate disbursements. 

Going digital, of course, is the first step for any payment process to approach near-real time payment. Digital wallets are the key to delivering instant A2A payments both domestically and internationally. Using a payments platform, moving funds from a payer’s digital wallet to a payee’s digital wallet completes the transaction.  

Digital wallets give choice and control to the recipient with respect to how they’d like to receive their payment. For international payments, the first step may be an intra-account wallet-to-wallet (W2W) exchange between currency-specific wallets. For domestic payments (any not requiring currency exchange), the payee’s digital choices include wire transfer, EFT, prepaid debit, and digital gift card. Most common among these is ACH or IACH transfer to the payee’s company or personal bank account. While the speed of ACH transactions is improving it still may take one or two business days and, in some cases, even longer for the recipient to be able to access the funds in their bank account. Hardly instant access. 

That’s why many elect to transfer funds to a virtual prepaid debit card which can be used anywhere that card brand is accepted. The transfer is immediate and access to the 16-digit card number is instant and particularly useful for any online transaction or e-commerce site.

Both ACH and virtual prepaid methods are free to payees. 

Taking instant access to the next level is the introduction of push-to-debit options,  now available in some markets and is seeing rapid adoption. For a nominal fee, the payee can provide the debit card number that is linked to their checking account and the funds can be transferred immediately via the card network – and funds are instantly accessible within their checking account.  

Aggregators can use APIs to embed any or all of these payment options.  Are you ready to  improve your customers’ and payees’ payment experience? At XTRM, our APIs embed all of these A2A payment options to give your payees the speed, choice  and control they increasingly demand. Contact us today to see how to get started.

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