5 Things We Learned at AFP 2018

Posted by Alison Arthur on 09 Nov 2018

Alacriti had the opportunity to attend and exhibit at AFP’s annual conference, held November 4-7 in Chicago. In addition to the many attendees we were fortunate to meet at our booth, we also attended a number of conference sessions dedicated to payments. In them, we took the pulse of what was on attendees’ minds as it relates to current topics, trends, and innovations in the payments ecosystem. Here are five high-level takeaways from the sessions we attended.

1. “Longer, higher, sooner” is shorthand for upcoming changes to Same Day ACH

Recently announced changes to Same Day ACH were a hot topic across many of the payments-related sessions. In the session, “The U.S. Path to Faster Payments”, one speaker summed up the new rules as, “Longer, higher, sooner.” This refers to lengthening the time window (an extra two hours per business day) to accommodate users on the West Coast, the higher maximum dollar amount per transaction (increasing from $25,000 to $100,000), and the quicker availability of funds for certain Same Day and next-day ACH credits.

2. The higher dollar value for Same Day ACH transactions might not be high enough

While there was positive feedback regarding the new, higher maximum transaction amount of $100,000, some attendees indicated that the amount could go even higher. One attendee mentioned that they would like to see that amount increased to $1 million, which garnered enthusiastic head nods from the crowd.

3. B2B checks work, which makes behavior difficult to change

Although faster electronic payments are gaining momentum among consumers, checks remain firmly in place for B2B transactions. In “The U.S. Path to Faster Payments” session, speakers shared data points from the 2016 AFP Electronic Payments Survey that showed B2B check use remained consistent between the years 2013 and 2016, even after nine years of steady decline. Why are B2B checks so difficult to dislodge?

Simply put, checks work. While there are efficiencies to be gained by moving to electronic payments including lower costs, faster settlement times, and increased liquidity, the overarching mantra seems to be, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Changing these highly embedded processes and behaviors might prove challenging as the push toward electronic B2B payments marches on.

4. Healthcare estimates are becoming an increasingly important part of the patient payment experience

In a session that examined healthcare payments, “Generation Healthcare: Payment Innovation in the Digital Age”, panelists discussed the rising importance of healthcare cost estimates for patients. As younger consumers are becoming healthcare consumers, they’re demanding more transparency into the cost of their healthcare services before they receive them. Providing healthcare cost estimates can be an effective way of setting expectations for consumers about what their financial responsibilities will be if and when those services are consumed.

5. Faster payments might change the way consumers approach the timing of their bill payments

In the session entitled, “ACH: The Strategic Payment Option for Businesses”, one panelist observed how consumers’ experiences with faster payments might influence the way they approach their bill payments as well. They used the example of the widely accepted practice of having a set due date for bill payments like mortgages. As consumers are increasingly empowered to make payments when they want to, they might want to make payments toward their pending balances as funds become available, not necessarily waiting until the due date to pay the full amount.

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Alison Arthur Product and Content Marketing Manager Alison creates timely product marketing and thought leadership content that keeps Alacriti's community informed on the latest developments in billing and payments technology. With a background in payments and financial services, Alison specializes in composing content related to technology, security, compliance, and overall industry trends.

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