(R)evolution of Payments – Are You Ready for the Next Level?

The Payment market is entering a new decade. The payments market as we know is undergoing some drastic changes in recent years. It all started with the introduction of SEPA and its final countdown in 2014. As the changes introduced by SEPA were mandatory for all participants in the Euro-area the harmonization of mass payments on a Europe wide basis has been completed. Furthermore, the time span for a payment to reach its recipient was capped at a single day within Europe and prices remain on domestic level.


In order to allow the remains to expand to new innovations after the introduction of SEPA, new roles such as Payment Initiation Service Provider (PISP) or Account Information Services Provider (AISP) were established while requesting a high security standard through a two-factor authentication on a legal basis. Therefore, at the end of 2015, several new regulations were adopted in the form of a revised Payment Directive – Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2). 

"The Euro payments market is picking up pace. Therefore, the time to participate in the development of the payments market
of the future is now."

Building on both a European wide payment scheme complemented by an open and a secure infrastructure, the demand for a real time execution of payments has risen. Instant Payments, a payment method where Euro transactions are finalized in a matter of seconds while the participating counterparties have a certainty of fulfillment, was born. This new form of payment is experiencing a rapid growth since it´s first ever transaction,
which mirrors the demand of faster, more real time processes at the point of sale, in e-commerce or for treasury purposes in the near future. 

Even if the Instant Payments scheme designed by the EPC is completely applicable within the bank-to-bank space, a seamless integration of Instant Payments into the end-to-end processes lacks an applicable standard. Finally, the desire for change within the market bears a chance to define needed enhancements on a best practice level or industry standard´s according to the needs of the industry. To apply the appropriate forum, the “Westhafen Expert Dialogue on Instant Payments” was founded to enable representatives of corporates, banks and service providers to define the needed best practices. Empowered by BearingPoint as the guiding consultancy, first gaps were closed by defining a local standard for Germany which informs corporates about incoming Instant Payments upon reception. This credit notification - called N54 - is based on the camt.054 format but is streamlined for a fast transfer of single payment transaction data. Looking forward, interest in the N54 was raised by several market participants on this topic, who expect it to become a European wide standard.












Westhafen Expert Dialogue on Instant Payments is an open forum and therefore open to all affected corporates, banks or service providers on this topic. In regularly scheduled meetings these participants look forward to discuss new best practices on market needs, such as new ways to instruct Instant Payments like using a PISP or the Request-to-Pay initiative. Request-to-Pay is a service where the recipient of the payment initiates a payment prompt including all relevant data, which is then sent to the payer, so he/she only has to accept / confirm the payment for it to be triggered. 


Innovation does not stop at borders. Within the next few years the ISO 20022 migration provides a huge chance for corporates as the entire messaging services will be unified. This change is not limited to Europe but will take place worldwide. Major high value payment systems as well as TARGET2 will change their messaging to ISO 20022. Introducing ISO 20022 with a big-bang approach in November 2021 will challenge all affected users of TARGET and TARGET2 payments. Furthermore, the payments community requested SWIFT to only support payments and cash management messages in ISO 20022 after a transition period lasting until 2025.

As one can see, the Euro payments market is picking up pace. So, the time to participate in the development of the payments market of the future is now.

The best place to start is the 25th anniversary ATEL event on September 19th in the Sofitel Kirchberg in Luxembourg. An event where over 250 local and international people, mostly treasurers from non-financial institutions and banks, as well as representatives of 25 treasurers’ associations will participate. Furthermore, the Luxembourgish Minister of Finance Pierre Gramegna will be a speaker during one of the plenary sessions. The event itself will consist of four stream sessions addressing topics of treasurers’ interest. Westhafen Expert Dialogue insights by participating corporates or banks will be sharedwith you at this event as well as the announced changes forced by TARGET consolidation and SWIFT ISO 20022 migration. 


Christian Bruck

Partner BearingPoint



Thomas Frenzel

Senior Manager BearingPoint