There are some amazing advances happening in technology right now – we’re sending space probes to Mars with a view to very soon sending man to the red planet, there are driverless cars, machines are doing more through Artificial Intelligence, virtual reality is becoming mainstream, financial services are being revolutionized through an array of fintech solutions – and yet despite these amazing feats corporates still have difficulties sending payments to their banks. This post will share details about one of the most processes that i hate, yes hate, most – payment file uploads into an internet banking system.
How does a Payment File Upload into Internet Banking work?
At its most basic:
- An ERP system generates a payment file in the required payment format
- The payment file is sent to a shared folder
- The payment file is uploaded into an internet banking system
- In the internet banking application, at least one approver will review the uploaded payments, and if the payments are valid the reviewer will approve and submit the payments to the bank for processing
Sounds great – What’s the Problem?
As a quick “I need a way to send my payments to the bank now”, or interim solution, its fine. But as a long term solution process particularly for international corporations it is not a sustainable, secure and efficient way to send your payments to the bank. Here’s why:
1. Spaghetti Like Payments Architecture
Often a corporate will have multiple ERP systems, each producing a different payment file format and transporting the payment file to different target folders in various locations. In short, this results in a lack of standardisation, multiple and slightly different solutions all of which need to be supported. The solution often results in little control over all payment processes across the organisation, and over time presents support, security, process control and end to end efficiency challenges.
On the other hand, payment file upload into internet banking enables flexibility and allows local businesses to quickly develop a payment delivery solution
2. Security Concerns with a Shared Target Folder
The file is usually delivered to a shared folder which nominated users will have ‘full’ access to. The problem with full access is that the nominated users could potentially use that access to open up the file and change the bank details to their own, and before you know it they can be on a plane to Rio.
You’re probably thinking, why not grant the nominated users ‘Read-only’ access – the problem with that is, in order to upload a file into internet banking, the user requires ‘full access’ – read only doesn’t give the user the ability to upload the payment file into internet banking.
Multiply this setup across multiple countries and systems and very soon you end up with a complex and spaghetti like payments architecture.
3. Internet Banking Setup Headaches
Uploading a file into internet banking requires system administrators to grant upload and approval access. System administrators need to create this workflow, and depending on the internet banking system this setup can be a nightmare. Once the payment workflow has been created, the payment workflow needs to be supported. Simple changes to add, change users or payment file details can sometimes break the workflow or take time to complete. In some countries and systems, setting users up (especially approvers) requires additional documentation and setup – which adds to the overall headache.
4. Approvers – Where are they?
Knowing that there are potential flaws in the delivery of the payment file into the internet banking application, some approvers must review and approve every single payment in a given batch. the problem is some payment batches consist of 100s, maybe more payments. Approvers are busy people, I doubt they really approve every single payment and as we all know it only takes one fraudulent payment to sneak through.
To make things worse sometimes the approvers don’t have the information they need in order to approve payments – what they really need are the details of the original invoice payment instructions and the ability to verify those against the payment instruction in the internet banking system. If the approvers don’t have the original invoice payment information to hand, it makes you wonder what they are really checking and approving?!?!
I almost forgot, sometimes its even difficult to find 2 approvers! Holidays, business travel are a couple of obvious reasons – but sometimes even more trivial reasons are to blame – lost tokens (used to sign into internet banking or for approvals) or forgetting ones username and/or password!
Do you have a solution to the Uploading a Payment File into Internet Banking nightmare?
Do you have a single solution or workflow for uploading payment files into internet banking that works in the same way across a couple of internet banking systems? I’m particularly interested to hear of any non-SWIFT, light and nimble solutions that your have implemented or can offer.
If so, i would love to hear your suggestions in the comments below…..