Payment Cards 101: The Ultimate Guide
In our BAM blog series, we strive to look at the problems of bank account management from a modern perspective. Our first installment focused on proper bank account management practices in the risk-focused world. In this installment of the series, we will discuss using the account analysis or bank fee statements you receive from your banks as a monitoring tool for establishing effective account and transaction controls in your treasury operation.
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In today’s payments world, one topic continues to be top of mind for both bankers and practitioners- speed. Enter Real Time Payments (RTP), the latest form of payment that aims to provide the quickest receipt option between businesses and consumers.
The limited capacities of the banks have led to the emergence of alternative financiers such as trade finance funds, which are typically launched by industry professionals willing to get involved with transactions that are not in the interest of traditional banks. The universe is still in its infancy, with only around 15–20 such funds around the world and total assets under management of less than USD 10 billion.
Banks position themselves as trusted advisors with the capability of facilitating large financing deals on behalf of their clients. While banks are capable of providing financing advice, they often have interests that conflict with the interests of their clients. Banks are in the difficult position of serving their clients while also maximizing their own profits and protecting their own balance sheets.
If there is one thing that those close to the payments industry know, it is that the industry is constantly evolving. We see payments getting faster and more convenient. With that said, the one thing merchants rarely see, as a part of all this growth and innovation, is shrinking cost. Payments, particularly card payments, just seem to be growing more expensive. While it is true that some portions of card acceptance, such as the fees paid to an acquirer, may be getting slimmer and more competitive, merchants still foot the bill for the most expensive component – interchange.
How do you know you are getting the best rates for the fees you are paying to your banks? You could compare what you have paid in the past or what you pay to other banks. However, are those truly accurate benchmarks? Each banking relationship varies with the multitude of services provided by each bank. The rates you pay in fees could vary just as much as the number of services you use at each bank. Utilize the below tips for smooth bank fee negotiations.
We have discussed the stages of your banking relationships and tips for a successful RFP but what does an effective RFP process look like? There are steps in the process every company should progress through for a successful RFP process. Below we detail those steps along with a few insider tips from Redbridge experts who have worked through countless RFPs with our clients.
The merchant card industry is changing, so much so that even the word ‘merchant’ has become out-of-date. In recent years, the industry standard verbiage changed from merchant cards to payment cards to be all-inclusive of the complexities of the payment card world. Examples of payment cards can include traditional credit and debit cards, but also gift cards (closed loop), pre-paid cards (open loop), ghost, and virtual cards.
There are two sides to the account analysis dilemma; establishing the baseline and regular auditing. To adequately solve for the bank fee problem you must do both.
Analyzing international bank fee statements requires in-depth knowledge of international banking structures, accessibility and visibility into local bank fees, and copious amounts of time and resources. Many treasurers do not make it past the first step of obtaining their international bank fee statements in useable formats to then progress to understanding their fees across multiple countries.
Now that you have determined which stage in the relationship you are in with your bank, it is time to evaluate the strength of the relationship. Banking relationships are based on performance, risk, and profitability KPIs. These relationships come down to two main objectives: fairness and accountability. For something to be truly fair, there should be transparency on all sides. Transparency and accountability are the foundation of a long-standing relationship.