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Forget About Balancing Your Checkbook

Published Thursday Jun 13, 2019

Forget About Balancing Your Checkbook

Soon you’ll be able to forget about balancing your checkbook – or even having a checkbook – according to research by Citizens Commercial Banking, which has NH headquarters in Manchester.

Per the bank’s Real-Time Payments Outlook, 90 percent of businesses expect real-time payments, a fast new standard in U.S. billing and payment processing that can transform the way business is done. Nearly two-thirds said real-time payments, the biggest upgrade to the U.S. payments system since the Automated Clearing House (ACH) in 1974, will likely mean the end of cash and check payments and will usher in a new era of instant transactions, while vastly improving business cash flow.

“Real-time payments is the most sweeping change to the U.S. payment system since the 1970s and businesses see this as a crucial opportunity to modernize their payment practices,” said Michael Cummins, head of treasury solutions at Citizens. “There are tremendous advantages in terms of speed and certainty of payments. Cash flow predictability and payment reconciliation will also be greatly improved. It will be absolutely transformative.”

The Citizens survey found that more than 75 percent of businesses still make or accept payments using paper checks and more than 45 percent still make or accept some payments in cash, highlighting the scope of the potential transformation.

Under the current payment model, it usually takes a day or more for checks to clear and money to move from one account to another. In contrast, payments can be made electronically by a customer through the real-time payments network and the funds instantaneously move from one account to another. Information about the transaction also travels with the funds, so recipients know where the money is coming from and why.

Other key findings include:

  • The real-time payments network is gaining momentum, with 41 percent of businesses saying they are currently discussing it or implementing it.
  • In addition to replacing check and cash payments, 60 percent of businesses said the new network would improve collection activity and posting to clients’ accounts.
  • 59 percent of businesses said real-time payments would help them manage cash flow more effectively.
  • 82 percent of businesses said real-time payments solves for many of the problems with the current payment options, such as the gap between making or receiving a payment and when funds clear.
  • Survey respondents also noted the real-time payments network’s ability to reduce fraud, include payment data with the payment and automate payments more easily.

For more information about real-time payments or this survey go here. The survey of decision-makers at more than 150 companies nationwide sampled businesses in different sectors with annual revenue of $10 million to $100 million (37%); $100 million to $500 million (25%); and more than $500 million (38%). It was conducted in March and April of 2019.

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