Introducing instant bank payments in Europe

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Till Wirth, Head of Product, Core Banking
12 Apr 2022
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European payments are about to get a lot faster. Today, TrueLayer’s complete payments product expands to Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Lithuania and the Netherlands.

TrueLayer Payments runs on the back of open banking and Europe’s fastest rails, letting you send and receive instant, data-rich bank payments in any app or website. With TrueLayer Payments, you can:

  • Accept instant pay-ins: let your customers top up their accounts, buy products and send money in seconds

  • Automate withdrawals and refunds: use API calls to automatically initiate withdrawals and refunds

  • Hold a dedicated merchant account: automate reconciliation processes and get full visibility of your payment details

TrueLayer Payments addresses some of the major pain points with online payments in Europe: speed, cost, friction and fraud. Read on to find out how. And don't forget to register for our webinar, where experts from Entain and HeyTrade will show you how they've harnessed instant bank payments in Europe.

The problem with online payments

Let’s face it: online payments are less than perfect. Here are just a few of the problems:

Slow settlement speed

Traditional payment methods weren’t built to handle the speed of online activity. Take card payments, which remain popular in Ireland, France and Spain. Settlement can take up to 10 days, which can inconvenience customers. 

For example, without immediate access to their deposits, trading app users could lose out on investment opportunities. And when it comes to withdrawals, long delays can kill customer trust with providers, ultimately leading to churn. In France, 56% of investors would likely switch to a platform that provides instant withdrawals. 

Slow payments are ultimately painful for everyone: businesses struggle to manage their liquidity, while their customers have to wait in limbo for refunds or withdrawals. Instant pay-ins and pay-outs offer a significant competitive advantage here, giving consumers peace of mind that their funds will be available immediately.

High fees and operational costs

Most online payment options carry substantial fees for merchants. Cards are subject to interchange fees and chargeback penalties. The latter have been particularly disruptive for businesses in the wake of COVID-19. In Spain, chargeback requests rose by 25% over the course of the pandemic.

Other traditional payment methods require expensive, time-consuming manual tracking processes. As a result, they’re prone to operational inefficiencies, human error and, at worst, lost pay-outs that can damage merchants’ reputations.

Even newer options are often costly. Buy now pay later is set to grow significantly in Germany, France and the Netherlands. Despite its popularity, BNPL carries high merchant service charges compared to open banking payments.

Friction at the checkout

Whether they’re shopping online, buying stock through a trading app, or gaming online, end users want a smooth customer experience. Unfortunately, many payment methods require users to take steps that lower conversion rates and increase checkout abandonment. 

Card payments and manual bank transfers both rely on customers punching in their payment details, which is slow, cumbersome and prone to errors that cause payments to fail.

Users face additional barriers when paying with cards. Five to 15% of card payments fail. And as strong customer authentication (SCA) requirements for cards have rolled out across Europe over the last two years, customers have had to take extra steps to verify their identities.

High fraud risks

Online payments continue to attract high rates of fraud, especially with cards. Fraudulent card transactions in Europe totalled €1.55 billion in 2020, with card-not-present fraud accounting for 76% of those cases. France, Germany and Spain all ranked in the top five for card fraud losses.

The solution: TrueLayer Payments

TrueLayer Payments are everything traditional payment methods aren’t: fast, cost-effective, frictionless and secure. You can verify account ownership, receive deposits, and provide instant withdrawals and refunds. 

Here’s how it works: 

  • Deposits settle in your dedicated merchant account and are automatically reconciled against users

  • Verified account details are then associated with each user, allowing businesses to provide instant withdrawals back into the same account.

  • Businesses are also able to withdraw from their merchant account into their bank account.

For your customers, the flow is simple:

  1. Your customer selects “instant bank payment” as their preferred payment method

  2. Your customer is automatically redirected to their online banking app or website to confirm the payment

  3. Once the payment is made, you both receive an instant confirmation.

  4. Your customer gets redirected straight back to your app, and funds appear in their account right away.

  5. Your customer can withdraw funds instantly from your site with one click. No need to send them to their bank or a login screen.


What are the benefits of TrueLayer Payments?

Businesses and end users can achieve a host of benefits through TrueLayer Payments, including:

  • Improved speed: with TrueLayer Payments, merchants are able to provide a seamless, instant experience to users. Customers and businesses get real-time confirmation once a payment is submitted, giving you peace of mind that each transaction has been authorised and that goods and services will be shipped or accessible immediately.

  • Lower operational costs: instant bank payments help businesses avoid the interchange fees and chargebacks of cards, making them far more cost-effective. They also allow for the automation of expensive and time-consuming manual processes such as reconciliation, sending payouts and more.

  • Improved conversion: tested on millions of transactions across the UK and Europe, our flows make paying easier than ever. TrueLayer Payments is invisible at the checkout, and merchants can customise their user interface to fit their brand, building trust with customers in the process. The result: fewer payment abandonments and higher conversion rates. 

  • Frictionless checkout processes: a single error can derail an entire checkout process. With TrueLayer Payments, users don’t need to enter their details, eliminating manual mistakes and making it easier to complete a payment.

  • Increased security: TrueLayer Payments are PSD2 compliant and authenticated directly with banks, meaning customer credentials are never stored. This ensures their data remains safe and secure. 

Who’s it for?

The speed and security of TrueLayer Payments makes it ideal for companies in a number of industries, such as financial services, ecommerce and iGaming.

Instant payments are particularly valuable for companies in trading, crypto and wealth management, where speed is critical to customer adoption. In fact, one in four wealthtech users say slow deposits have resulted in missed opportunities. With TrueLayer Payments, your customers get what they want: immediate access to their funds.

Speed isn’t just important in financial services, though. A fast checkout experience is critical for ecommerce merchants. That’s why Payments offers smooth, frictionless flows that make paying as simple as scanning a fingerprint or using a face ID. And the benefits don’t end when a purchase is made. Instant refunds return a customer’s funds immediately, fostering loyalty in the process.

iGaming companies can also benefit from Payments’ instant withdrawal features. In a TrueLayer survey, one in four iGaming users said they would increase their deposits if they could withdraw their winnings immediately. Payments lets companies such as Codere in Spain and Jack Potts Bingo in Ireland do just that. Since transactions settle in real time, users get instant access to their cash, mimicking an in-person casino experience.

With TrueLayer Payments, businesses and end users in Europe can experience something unique: fast, cost-effective and virtually fraud-free online transactions.

Learn more about TrueLayer Payments.

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