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What real-time payments mean for your business

In this article, ATB experts explore the cutting edge of payment modernization in Canada.

By ATB Financial 22 January 2024 2 min read

Today’s data-rich real-time payments give users access to both their financial and non-financial data in a faster, simpler and more secure way, says ATB Business Solutions Vice President Brian Ford. He describes the ability to integrate and create straight-through processing as a game changer. “Everyone benefits.”

Businesses today face growing demand for digital payment solutions, pushing this to the top of the agenda for financial institutions in Canada and around the world. This demand underlines the need for solutions like real-time payments, open banking, digital currencies and digital identities. According to a recent Finextra global survey of banks, more than half of North American banks plan to implement a new payment solution like real-time payments within six months. The top drivers of payment modernization, according to the same survey, according to a major survey from Finextra Research, are limiting system risk, reducing cost, and the improvement and diversification of value-added services.

“The push to more digital data along with digital payment methods will not only allow customers more context in terms of moving money, it will also enhance insights from the data and will help with end-to-end processing,” says ATB Business Solutions Managing Director Natasha Lalani.

Despite this, data-limited payment methods like cheques, wires and Electronic Funds Transfers are still widely used. 

But this is changing fast, as financial service providers and businesses move away from paper-based solutions and data starts being incorporated with the payments. A recent Payments Canada report found that commercial cheque volume decreased 5% from 2021-2022.

The future of payments

The future of payments is all about improving digital banking products and services and leveraging data to deliver customized, personalized solutions to customers. New real time payments solutions offer rich data, irrevocable payments, and security, which is helpful given the rising levels of digital fraud.

Real-Time Rail (RTR) is the platform that real-time payments run on. RTR is a foundational step toward the future of payments. It allows businesses to make payments in a modernized, instant payments system, and authorize their financial institution to securely share their financial data with other organizations (such as financial technology firms).


What's coming in Canada—and around the world?

A major component of a modernized, real-time, data-enriched payment system is Interac e-Transfer® for Business. This is a major step for Canadian payments, allowing the inclusion of remittance data within real-time, account number-based payments.

Real-time payments are no longer a hypothetical—they are here and being used. Payments today are about the ability to move money easily and relatively inexpensively, both between financial institutions and around the world.

“Payments today are faster, simpler and more secure. You have the ability to receive insights from your data and get alerts based on your transactions. This way your financial institution can work for you and you can focus on growing your business,” Lalani says.

“You can exchange funds instantly, with absolute transparency, confidence and certainty.”

Arrows flowing into money and arrows flowing up, indicating making and receiving payments.

Are your current payments efficient and secure?

Our helpful guides, webinars and articles will help you evaluate your current payment methods and learn about other options. Explore now.

Need help?

Our ATB Business Solutions team will be happy to assist.