Category Archives: Alacriti Blog

Zoomers: How Much Do They Value Real-Time Payments?

Generation Z doesn’t really remember a time when they couldn’t get what they want—instantly. With everyday experiences such as 3-day Amazon Prime deliveries and ubiquitous high-speed internet taken for granted, the patience of Zoomers is almost nonexistent. This mindset bleeds into this generation’s perception of money movement.

Tech-savvy Zoomers’ decisions are driven by convenience and abundant options. They prefer stores and restaurants that offer many payment options, including real-time payments. Even if real-time payments are not a Zoomer’s first preference, a Zoomer is likely to still want the option.

What Are Real-Time Payments?

According to Payments Journal, real-time payments are initiated and settled electronically almost instantaneously. RTP networks provide access all the time for this exact reason. Real-time payments can apply to insurance, payroll, utility bill payments, and more. They should not be confused with faster payments, as faster payments are not necessarily instantaneous.

Perks of Real-Time Payments

  • Instant Communication: When an individual transaction is made, real-time transmission of more data follows. 
  • Instant Access to Funds: Recipients do not have to wait for funds. 
  • Financial Control: Instant bill payment, more substantial cash flow, and better budgeting are results of real-time payments.
  • Cash Positioning: Consumers expect seamless integration with systems like invoicing and bill payment.  

Real-time payments are valued highly by individuals and businesses that need funds quickly. Zoomers, on the other hand, have varying opinions. Generation Z heavily uses peer-to-peer payment applications like Venmo and Zelle. These apps transfer money from the app to the bank account and can instantly do so for a fee. Most P2P providers charge 2%-3% current fee charges drawn from credit or debit cards. These transfers rout through the TCH RTP® network. Although Zoomers use these P2P apps for convenience when out with friends,  “buy now, pay later (BNPL)” is popular as well.

Zoomer Attitudes on BNPL 

Mercator Research found that 52% of Zoomers used BNPL or short-term loans in the last year. The majority of Generation Z feels like BNPL offers financial flexibility. Younger folks have a limited cash flow, and with BNPL, they can afford to buy larger items. However beneficial “buy now, pay later” may be for Zoomers, many do recognize the downsides of it as well. Accumulating debt with BNPL can lead to users having little to no savings. 

How Many Zoomers Prefer Real-Time Payments? 

Javelin Strategy & Research conducted a study to look at today’s real-time payments landscape. This study concluded that 90% of Gen Z felt that it was important to have instant access to funds. Zoomers utilize real-time payments in social situations where they need to pay friends back. Gen Z is typically averse to debt accumulation or being late. Real-time payments also go hand-in-hand with deeper digital engagement with peer-to-peer apps. 

Real-Time Payments and COVID-19

Because of the pandemic, credit unions began exploring real-time payments. By the end of May 2020, 50% of the world issued faster payments through RTPs. Due to sanitary reasons and convenience, people veered away from checks and cash and moved to digital payments. And, due to Gen Z’s aversion to debt accumulation, Zoomers prefer real-time payments.  

However popular the “buy now, pay later” mindset may be, real-time payments also match the speed Generation Z expects. Their mindset and the world’s changes after the pandemic, all play a major role in the value that real-time payments hold for Zoomers. 

Read more about Zoomers in Zoomers: Traditional Financial Institutions Vs. Neobanks.


Today’s legacy and siloed banking technology infrastructure limit credit unions’ ability to rapidly innovate. It’s time to look at money movement in a new way. Alacriti’s Orbipay Unified Money Movement Services does just that. Whether it’s real-time payments, digital disbursements, or bill pay, our cloud-based platform enables credit unions to quickly and seamlessly deliver modern digital payments and money movement experiences. To speak to an Alacriti payments expert, please call us at (908) 791-2916 or email info@alacriti.com.

Zoomers: Traditional Financial Institutions Vs. Neobanks

*Originally published on CUInsight.com

Generation Z, or Zoomers, is the only generation that has not experienced life without the convenience of internet connectivity. This fact, along with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, has disrupted the world of traditional financial institutions. As a result, Zoomers commonly explore neobanks. 

What are neobanks? 

According to Forbes, ‘neobanks’ are fintech firms that offer various software and apps to create digital banks. Much of what Zoomers value goes hand-in-hand with what neobanks have to offer. 

  • Accessibility: Neobanks have less bureaucracy, which leads to faster loan approval. 
  • Lower Costs: Gen Z is opposed to fees, especially overdraft fees. Neobanks save money on real estate and operational costs, which allow them to lower prices and eliminate extra fees for their account holders. 
  • Adaptability: Zoomers are a fast-moving generation who value innovation above everything else. Since neobanks are mobile/digital-first, innovation is highly scalable. Neobanks entered the banking industry knowing that they could more easily expand their interfaces and creativity vs. the competition. They are constantly adding new features such as microlending and commission-free stock trading. 

Many traditional financial institutions are faced with the challenge of the speed and accessibility that neobanking offers. There was no real need for fast-paced evolution before the boom in online services, as they functioned for years within a structured oligopoly. As mobile-first financial institutions, neobanks have succeeded in creating high-speed, user-friendly interfaces. 

There are also some issues with financial institutions that lack alignment with Gen Z values. 

  • Scandal & Controversy: Generation Z values clean, ethical behavior in the political environment and the entertainment industry. Similarly, leaked information regarding traditional financial institutions’ unethical behavior repels Zoomer consumers. For example, Manole Capital Management’s 2020 study shows that 27% of Zoomers would never partner with a certain large bank due to their scandal in 2016.
  • Zoomers’ Minimal Interest in Visiting Banks: The study mentioned above showcased that only 16.70% of Zoomer consumers are interested in visiting the bank more than 5 times a year. Additionally, in 2018, Capital One Bank attempted to attract Gen Z consumers to branches by adding “money coaches”, “ambassadors,” and even complimentary refreshments. However, this was a failed attempt, and post-COVID is even less likely to work. 

Despite the evident modern edge that neobanking has, Zoomer consumers can admit that there are still services that only traditional financial institutions can offer. Neobanking, as of right now, is more focused on essential, simple services, like checking and savings accounts. Traditional institutions provide mortgages and other types of loans. 

Traditional banking institutions still have a lot to offer, including in-person services. The majority of Zoomers are still in school, and many of them have yet to worry about buying a home and paying mortgages, which is why the appeal of neobanking remains strong. Also of consideration—many Zoomers grew up watching their parents bank with traditional financial institutions, making it possible that they will trust what they’re familiar with.  

Read more about Zoomers in Zoomers on Campus: Where I Choose to Bank


Today’s legacy and siloed banking technology infrastructure limit credit unions’ ability to rapidly innovate. It’s time to look at money movement in a new way. Alacriti’s Orbipay Unified Money Movement Services does just that. Whether it’s real-time payments, digital disbursements, or bill pay, our cloud-based platform enables credit unions to quickly and seamlessly deliver modern digital payments and money movement experiences. To speak to an Alacriti payments expert, please call us at (908) 791-2916 or email info@alacriti.com.

How Do the Underbanked Pay Their Bills?

Not so long ago, banking relationships were a staple of American life. Local banks and credit unions were a critical component of local communities, where tellers and customers or members often knew one another by name. Banks and credit unions fueled the American Dream by helping fund everything from new homes and automobiles to college tuition and vacation funds. These high-touch relationships were an integral part of the American economy and something that citizens relied upon for their financial wellbeing.

With the deregulation of the banking system and the digitization of everything from cash withdrawals to check deposits, banking relationships are not what they once were. Customers and members can get away with rarely setting foot inside a brick-and-mortar location. They may seldom if ever, interact with the employees at physical locations. And there are many Americans who cannot afford the cost of traditional banking at all. These people are often referred to as the “unbanked” or “underbanked.”

The numbers

The FDIC publishes a biennial report that explores the reality of people who are unbanked. Here are some key findings from the most recent study from 2019.

  • 5.4 percent of US households were unbanked in 2019, meaning that no household members had a savings or checking account—this represents approximately 7.1 million U.S. households.
  • The FDIC did not report on underbanked Americans in its latest survey; however, according to one estimate, approximately 24 percent of Americans remain underbanked, meaning while they own a checking or savings account, they seek alternative financial services (AFS) from non-traditional providers. 
  • Examples of AFS include money orders, check cashing, international remittances, payday loans, refund anticipation loans, rent-to-own services, pawn shop loans, or auto title loans.
  • The “fully-banked” rate was 94.6 percent, meaning the household had a bank account and did not use AFS in the past 12 months—the highest rate since the FDIC began the study in 2009.

Why choose AFS over traditional checking and savings accounts?

Choosing AFS can be attributed to many factors, the most pressing being the minimum balances associated with traditional banking accounts. According to the FDIC survey, not having enough money to meet minimum balance requirements was the most often cited reason (48.9%) for not having a primary checking or savings account. Many financial institutions require high minimum balances to get the most basic services for free or at a low cost. If account holders are being charged for basic services, these deductions can add up quickly and leave them with less money in their accounts than they might expect.

Over 34 percent of respondents cited high account fees as a deterrent. The fees associated with bounced checks and overdraft protection can be of particular concern. If a banking customer does not have sufficient funds to cover a check, they may be slammed with an average overdraft fee of $34. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reported in 2019 that US customers paid fees totaling $15.5 billion for bounced checks or overdrafts. For many customers, these fees and the uncertainty that comes with them are simply too much for their budgets to handle. It’s no wonder then, that digital banks have started a no-overdraft trend, resulting in many of the largest banks lowering or abandoning these charges.

How do the unbanked and underbanked pay their bills?

Fully-banked customers can pay their bills simply by dropping a check in the mail or using their bank account information for ACH transactions. It’s not that easy for the unbanked and underbanked. There are more hoops to jump through to pay minimums or balances on time. Here are some popular ways that the unbanked and underbanked can pay their bills in the absence of traditional banking relationships.

Option 1: Prepaid debit cards

Prepaid debit cards give customers the option to make card payments without traditional bank accounts or credit cards. They simply buy the prepaid card, load money onto it, pay the associated fees, and use it like a traditional debit or credit card. It provides the user experience of a traditional credit or debit card—including the ability to make payments online—without maintaining an underlying account.

Option 2: Cash

Despite the growing buzz around the demise of cash, cash remains a go-to method for the unbanked and underbanked to pay their bills. This is where walk-in services and kiosks can be invaluable for businesses with customers that require a cash option to pay their bills.

Option 3: Check cashing

Check cashers do just that—they deposit endorsed checks into their business bank account in return for immediate cash to the customer, less a transaction fee. They can also provide other financial services including bill payments, money transfers, and money orders. Thanks to the highly transparent fee structure for these services, in addition to the immediate receipt of money, check cashing can be a viable alternative for people without traditional bank accounts.

Not every American has or wants, a traditional banking relationship. That’s why it’s important to offer a variety of payment methods (including cash and prepaid debit cards) and payment channels (including walk-in and kiosk options for cash transactions) that serve the diverse needs of all consumers.

Convenience and flexibility around the payment channels you offer are an important part of your customer experience. Learn more in Offering More Payment Channels Improves the Customer Experience

Updated from a blog originally published March 19, 2018. 


Today’s legacy and siloed banking technology infrastructure limit financial institutions’ ability to rapidly innovate. It’s time to look at money movement in a new way. Alacriti’s Orbipay Unified Money Movement Services does just that. Whether it’s real-time payments, digital disbursements, or bill pay, our cloud-based platform enables banks and credit unions to quickly and seamlessly deliver modern digital payments and money movement experiences. To speak to an Alacriti payments expert, please call us at (908) 791-2916 or email info@alacriti.com.

Real-Time Payments Without Borders

*Originally published on CUInsight.com

In April 2022, EBA Clearing, SWIFT, and The Clearing House announced their plan to launch a pilot service for immediate cross-border payments with the support of banks from both sides of the Atlantic. Twenty-four financial institutions are contributing, and the pilot service will launch at the end of this year. Initially, the service will begin with the U.S. dollar and Euro, and the intention is to expand to other currency channels and payment systems. Here’s why this is an important development:

Connects the U.S. and Europe in the immediate future 

Although the global card networks have been offering fast cross-border payments for years, this announcement is important because it provides a means for the U.S. real-time payment rails to connect with Europe (real-time cross-border products have already appeared in Asia and in the Nordics). Russ Waterhouse, the executive vice president of product development and strategy for The Clearing House, stated to American Banker, “As much as we see use cases developing from real-time pay in the U.S. and Europe in their own countries, you’ll see the same kind of innovation in cross-border payments.”

Avoiding the lag and friction  

Sometimes international transactions can take longer—sometimes multiple days— due to local liquidity and risk management requirements. Currently, there are intermediary banks that act as hubs, meaning one payment could go through several banks. This also adds to the time it takes for a payment to clear. Manual processes still prevail, and there is a lack of interoperability between platforms. With cross-border real-time payments, parties will know immediately if a transaction has settled, removing the risk of being unsure of settlement. 

The potential of a global network

There are already four dozen countries with a real-time payment system. With economies becoming increasingly interdependent globally, there is more need for cross-border real-time payments. This could democratize entries into markets by reducing barriers to entry and promote financial inclusion.

There isn’t just one rail or channel that’s ideal to deliver faster payments. Card networks such as Visa can push instant payments to debit cards where existing rails can’t reach. Conversely, having an A2A option in real-time can reduce friction for consumers and businesses that make payments between countries where card penetration differs. It’s important to partner with a fintech that can provide connectivity to all the major rails, so the financial institution is completely covered no matter where or how fast the payment needs to arrive.

In other news, the Metaverse is becoming very important in the financial services industry. Read more in The Metaverse and Payments: 5 New Developments


Alacriti’s centralized payment platform, Cosmos, provides innovation opportunities and the ability to make smart routing decisions at the financial institution to meet their individual needs. Financial institutions can take full ownership of their payments and control their evolution with ACH, Wire, TCH RTP® network, Visa Direct, and the FedNowSM Service, all on one cloud-based platform. To speak with an Alacriti payments expert, please contact us at (908) 791-2916 or info@alacriti.com. 

Accepting Online Donations: 4 Things to Know

Americans donated a record $471.4 billion to charities in 2020—and $3.2 billion of that came from online donations, representing 13 percent of total giving—up 20.7 percent from the previous year and the largest percentage of online giving ever. And, it’s estimated that 28 percent of all digital donations were made using a mobile device in 2021. It makes sense that as smartphone use continues to climb, the popularity and convenience of online giving platforms like GoFundMe® will continue to drive an increase in mobile donations. 

While the bulk of these donations is still made in non-digital environments, these numbers show that online capabilities are imperative to support the changing expectations of donors. And accepting online donations doesn’t need to be difficult. In fact, it can be a natural extension of solutions that organizations already have in place. Here are four things to know about accepting online donations.  

  1. Donors want the option to make donations using credit cards and debit cards, including via Apple Pay and Google Pay

As demand for online and mobile gift-giving increases, it’s only natural that demand for charitable donations using credit cards will also increase. Supporting a wide array of online payment methods gives donors more choice and flexibility when making donations, increasing the likelihood that they’ll contribute. In addition, an online donation solution can also record in-person gifts made by cash and personal checks, giving an organization a top-down view of contributions across all payment methods.

  1. One-time givers can be transformed into ongoing sustainers, increasing donor lifetime value

One-time contributions are valuable in their own right but turning one-time gifts into sustained income can create a long-lasting positive impact for years to come. An online donation solution should support both scenarios, allowing donors to make quick and easy one-time payments or establish an ongoing series of recurring payments.

  1. Online donation experiences should translate seamlessly to mobile devices

As mentioned above, mobile devices are a rising force in online donations. It’s important that online donation experiences translate seamlessly to mobile devices by using a solution that’s built with responsive web design (RWD). In addition, a progressive web app format provides the convenience of an app UI experience on mobile devices using browser technology. This is significant as it’s possible to provide a better experience without having to download an app. 

  1. Accepting online donations can be integrated into an existing solution

Payment aggregators might seem like the quickest and easiest way to begin accepting online donations. However, leveraging these solutions often requires a separate login from donors that removes them from an organization’s branded experience. As a result, donors may find the user experience disjointed and frustrating, creating extra obstacles to completing their online donations.

Accepting online donations may be easily accessible through a solution that’s already in place. For example, an electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) solution may also support online donation acceptance. This means that online donations can be supported without hassle, allowing an organization to begin accepting charitable contributions quickly and easily, without having to implement, manage and support a new solution.

For organizations that rely on donations for operating, increased demand for online donations cannot be ignored. Delivering an online payment experience to donors that’s quick and seamless can help lower barriers to giving, benefitting all parties involved.  

Find out more about EBPP in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to EBPP

Updated from a blog originally published October 31, 2018.


Today’s legacy and siloed banking technology infrastructure limit financial institutions’ ability to rapidly innovate. It’s time to look at money movement in a new way. Alacriti’s Orbipay Unified Money Movement Services does just that. Whether it’s real-time payments, digital disbursements, or bill pay, our cloud-based platform enables banks and credit unions to quickly and seamlessly deliver modern digital payments and money movement experiences. To speak to an Alacriti payments expert, please call us at (908) 791-2916 or email info@alacriti.com.

Alacriti Insurance Series Part II: How AI Can Help Your CX

Call centers across all industries have been struggling to remain fully staffed in the aftermath of the pandemic as well as through “The Great Resignation” and insurance call centers are disproportionally affected. Faced with higher-than-normal call volumes, whether from additional healthcare claims due to COVID-19, life insurance claims, or business interruption claims, more policyholders need to be able to talk to someone right away. Also, consider that people who are having financial struggles may be thinking of canceling their policies, so now is the time to create a valuable experience and provide flexibility. 

For health insurance especially, the customer experience is now even more important. Before the Affordable Care Act, companies didn’t have much interaction with customers. ACA caused an influx of those who would have remained uninsured to apply for coverage. 

In the wake of COVID-19-induced layoffs or voluntary resignations, those who used to have insurance through their employer will leverage COBRA, which is for a limited amount of time, which in itself can cause a high volume of questions and inquiries. It is estimated that 28 million, or just under 9 percent, of Americans, now don’t have health insurance. A chatbot can help with the influx of customer service requests and receiving payments in whatever method is necessary and convenient for prospective policyholders. And, if desired, a chatbot can help with enrollment. 

An easy way to lessen the burden of call volume is to implement an AI chatbot on your website. Rather than have staff accept bill payments and answer common questions, conversational AI can allow customers to perform basic tasks via self-service using natural voice commands. Your chatbot can go beyond bill pay to answer commonly asked questions to address queries and resolve issues. With direct website integration, customers don’t have to be redirected to a new site to access the chatbot. Opening up additional self-service capabilities also offers an extension of your customer service hours to 24/7/365. Rather than your staff receiving a large volume of overnight requests each morning, a chatbot can handle issues even while they’re off. 

Jose was laid off from his job but luckily found something he can start within two months. Fortunately, his homeowner’s insurance company offered an option to extend his premium deadline by paying a fraction of the payment. Instead of having to wait until normal business hours, he was able to talk to his insurance company’s chatbot to access the extension.

Reducing call volume not only greatly increases operational efficiency—you can do more with less staff—it also delivers a great experience for the customer. Shorter hold times will be appreciated but a chatbot will also transform how you engage with your customers. Your customers can now communicate with you from channels they already use and enjoy, such as Facebook Messenger, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant. 

If you’re not already considering leveraging technology to improve your customer experience, consider that the insurance industry has been steadily investing in technology. A jump in spending in 2019 was cooled during the pandemic and then immediately increased in 2021, jumping four percent, year-over-year with another increase of just under 10 percent expected for 2022. Companies that want to remain competitive, will need to consider average industry spending.

Alacriti created Ella, an AI-powered chatbot that facilitates seamless, personalized, and context-aware interactions between you and your customers through messaging apps, intelligent personal assistants, and directly on your website. 

To find out how Ella can transform how you engage with your customers contact us at (908) 791-2916 or info@alacriti.com.

Updated from a blog originally published September 1, 2020.

Alacriti Insurance Series Part I: Accelerate Payment Receivables

The case for a modern payment experience for insurance was made long before the pandemic; however, since then, consumer demands for more convenient payment options have accelerated. Now, it’s more necessary than ever before to partner with a modern fintech that allows more flexibility with payments, boosts retention, and reduces costs.

At the height of the pandemic, many states directed insurance companies to suspend cancellations for non-payment, prompting insurance companies to find ways to accelerate receivables by providing a better payment experience. 

After suffering through layoffs and higher-than-usual unemployment during the pandemic, the nation is now trying to find its footing again through “The Great Resignation.” Whatever the reason for remaining unemployed—whether involuntarily or by choice—many consumers are faced with reprioritizing payment responsibilities, and when homeowners are financially stretched, homeowner’s insurance can be an unfortunate casualty. 

Unemployment can also have a negative impact on consumer wallets vis-a-vis health insurance payments through COBRA, which is significantly more expensive than purchasing through an employer. It’s important for policyholders to have visibility into their billing information through a comprehensive policyholder portal as well as the ability to receive payment reminders via email or SMS text messaging. Late premium payments can lead to lapses in health insurance and even higher rates for policyholders.

You may think that you already offer payment flexibility with IVR and web payments; however, adding text and voice payment options make it even easier for policyholders to pay. Being able to pay a premium by text is amazingly simple and convenient. The ability to simply talk to Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant to pay bills is also another level of convenience.

Jennifer has had to work from home for quite some time. She used to pay bills on her phone while she was on her lunch break, but now a ‘lunch break’ is no longer a concept that exists. She keeps forgetting to pay her insurance premium, but then remembered that the company is integrated with Amazon Alexa. While preparing a meal for her children, she speaks to her Alexa on her Amazon Echo and finally gets the bill paid.

It has been said that the easiest bill to pay gets paid first. Offering better payment channels like pay-by-text, payment methods like credit card payments and payment options like Guest Pay and Apple Pay can be the difference between getting a payment on time or not.

Sam has been laid off from his job. His sister asks if there is anything she can do during this difficult time. He mentions that he needs help with his insurance premium. To ease the burden, she uses the Guest Pay option for his insurance company, allowing her to pay the bill without having to have his username, password, and access to all of his account information.

Insurance companies may also be experiencing an increase in credit card payments. Those in economic hardship will often need to float their costs rather than pay with cash via ACH payment. Alacriti helps insurance companies with this issue by routing payments in the least expensive way possible, saving them costly interchange fees. 

The insurance industry is unique in that the opportunity to impress policyholders is primarily during the sales and onboarding process. This heightens the importance of the digital experience, making it so user-friendly bill payment solutions have a direct impact on policyholder satisfaction and retention. Lacking new and innovative ways to accept payments can negatively impact your receivables. The incentive for insurance providers to offer a better solution is more significant than ever before, and the time is now to make a positive change. 

Alacriti offers the most customizable billing and payments solution, Orbipay EBPP, for insurers. The solution provides easy access to the payment channels (mobile, Facebook Messenger, intelligent assistants), payment methods (ACH, credit cards, debit cards), and payment options (one-time, recurring, autopay, payment plans, and balance reload) that today’s customer demands. 

To find out how your organization can deliver a better customer experience, accelerate cash flow while reducing costs, and streamlining operations, contact us at (908) 791-2916 or info@alacriti.com.

Updated from a blog originally published August 19, 2020.

Increasing Autopay Adoption and the Remarkable Results of Repetition

Autopay offers tangible business benefits that include improving the number of reliable on-time payments, decreasing costs associated with checks and other customer service-supported payments, and boosting customer satisfaction. But after the pool of early adopters is exhausted, what can billers do to increase autopay adoption rates?  

The Marketing Rule of Seven is a powerful principle that is often overlooked. Based on the simple idea of repetition, the Rule of Seven stipulates that to elicit the desired action, such as promoting autopay enrollment, people must be reached and positively impacted at least seven times in a variety of ways. 

Why Repetition Matters

Repetition is important in promoting autopay enrollment because most people don’t take action the first few times they’re exposed to your company’s enrollment efforts. The reasons for inaction are many:

  • They’re busy. Customers are not sitting around waiting for you. They’re busy living their lives with countless responsibilities and to-dos on their plates. 
  • They’re not all that familiar with your business or autopay functionality. Repetition builds brand recognition and awareness, which in turn builds trust and credibility. It also builds an understanding of how customers can benefit from autopay. New customers become familiar with your company and messages over time. Through repeated exposure, they begin validating your company’s legitimacy and are more willing to establish a deeper relationship, including enrolling for autopay.
  • They are bombarded with noise and countless distractions. Competition for consumers’ time and attention is immense. In a noisy environment, you need to repeat your message in the hopes you can cut through the marketing clutter. Even when you gain interest — and even when customers decide they are ready — distractions can cause them to delay action and forget about enrolling.
  • They can’t or won’t make a decision. Some people need more time than others to decide whether to act or not and sometimes they even need someone else’s approval. Others simply procrastinate over decision-making in general. Time is not on your side; the more the clock ticks after an individual’s autopay enrollment touch takes place, the less likely it will result in getting a customer to sign up.
  • It’s just bad timing. Even when you actively target customers for autopay, chances are they may not be ready to enroll. Perhaps your message hasn’t sunk in because a customer is experiencing financial uncertainty, about to change jobs, or in the middle of a family crisis. Countless reasons can stall enrollment. The timing of your enrollment offers can be off. If customers see your message only once, they may not remember when they are ready to act. To stay top of mind, you need to keep your company and enrollment messages visible. Out of sight is definitely out of mind.
  • They’ve lost your enrollment offer. While the marketing materials you create are important to you and your business, they are less important to your customers, even when asked for. Count on customers losing, misplacing, or discarding the enrollment information you provide. Repetition puts your materials and message at their fingertips over and over again.

How to Make it Work

Create a campaign that maps out the who, what, where, when, and how related to marketing communications.

  • Identify who you plan to communicate with (identify customers not already enrolled).
  • Specify what information and messages you want to communicate (the autopay value).
  • Choose where you will be communicating (via Internet, email, phone, mail, in-person, etc.).
  • Determine the frequency of your communications — the when.
  • Pick the tactics you will employ to get the word out — the how (email blasts, website banner ads, statement messaging and inserts, envelope messaging, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) messaging, letters, postcards, social media, call and text campaigns, plus customer offers, prizes, incentives, sweepstakes and rewards, employee contests, and more). 

Once your campaign strategy is solid, begin executing and be persistent in your efforts. Remember, most customers don’t take action the first few times they’re exposed to your company’s message. Repetition ensures that the autopay enrollment information you’re trying to convey imprints on your customers’ minds.

Don’t rely on just one type of method, even if you are getting stellar results. Using a variety of mediums in an integrated, multichannel approach increases the likelihood of catching your customers’ attention.  Put the Rule of Seven to work and enjoy the benefits of increased autopay enrollment.

Read more about billing in Paper or Electronic Billing: What’s Your Preference?

Updated from a blog originally published February 13, 2020.


Today’s legacy and siloed banking technology infrastructure limit financial institutions’ ability to rapidly innovate. It’s time to look at money movement in a new way. Alacriti’s Orbipay Unified Money Movement Services does just that. Whether it’s real-time payments, digital disbursements, or bill pay, our cloud-based platform enables banks and credit unions to quickly and seamlessly deliver modern digital payments and money movement experiences. To speak to an Alacriti payments expert, please call us at (908) 791-2916 or email info@alacriti.com.

Faster Payments: Are You Ready?

As if demand for 24/7/365 convenience wasn’t already climbing fast enough, the global pandemic sent it into outer space. Americans are demanding more ways they can safely and securely pay anyone, anywhere, at any time, and with near-immediate funds availability over archaic and slow batch processes. As a result, the U.S. Faster Payments Council (FPC) and its members are working to advance the faster payments ecosystem, driving the emerging faster payments infrastructure toward ubiquity, fostering a high-quality and secure user experience for all, and supporting the widespread use of faster payments. 

FPC members use private-sector approaches to address issues that inhibit the adoption of faster payments and enable end-users to reach each other in ways as seamless and transparent as mobile texting. As a result, payments are evolving quickly to reduce friction and leverage speed. Currently, more than 60 percent of the over 5,000 U.S. banks are already connected to the RTP® network. 

As the race toward more widespread RTP availability continues, more and bigger players are entering the fray, including some established and some new ones, such as Zelle®, Venmo, Visa Direct, MasterCard, the Federal Reserve’s FedNow (expected in 2023), The Clearing House’s RTP network and NACHA Same Day ACH.

Benefits Beyond Speed

While instant, 24/7 availability of payments made possible by faster payments initiatives is a huge benefit in terms of managing cash flow, the ultimate advantage may lie in the power of unlocking transactional information. Coupling payment details with transactional data reveals insights to create operational efficiencies, enhance customer engagement and satisfaction, improve data transparency and accuracy, monitor fraud, manage risk, and streamline reconciliation processes. 

Bill payments have been identified as one of four use cases that could benefit the most from faster payments. What does this mean for you and your business? Companies offering their customers the payment technologies, such as RfP, that employ faster payments are poised to greatly benefit. 

To offer a truly modern payment experience, make sure you offer a wide variety of payment channels and methods. Consider implementing mobile, web, SMS, chatbot, and e-invoicing channels to enhance how you reach customers or members digitally to request payments and entice them to pay faster. Also, ramp up payment acceptance options to include faster payment services like credit, debit, same-day ACH, RTP, and more so that they are more likely to pay when you send requests. 

Your business stands to benefit greatly by taking advantage of faster payments. Make sure you’re implementing the latest and greatest payment channels and methods to reap the advantages.  

Read more about how faster payments can benefit billers in 5 Request for Pay (RfP) Use Cases for Billers.

Updated from a blog originally published April 2, 2020.


Alacriti’s centralized payment platform, Cosmos, provides innovation opportunities and the ability to make smart routing decisions at the financial institution to meet their individual needs. Financial institutions can take full ownership of their payments and control their evolution with ACH, Wire, TCH RTP® network, Visa Direct, and the FedNowSM Service, all on one cloud-based platform. To speak with an Alacriti payments expert, please contact us at (908) 791-2916 or info@alacriti.com. 

The Metaverse and Payments: 5 New Developments

*Originally published on CUInsight.com

In 2009, Bruce Willis starred in a movie called Surrogates, featuring a futuristic world where humans interacted through surrogate robots. At the time, the thought of living a life by proxy seemed otherworldly. However, if you’ve noticed the accelerating number of headlines about the concept of a virtual second life is being embraced by major corporations. 

So what is the metaverse? According to the NY Times, the metaverse is the convergence of virtual reality and a digital second life where virtual reality serves as a computing platform for living a second life online. In short, you and your avatar interact with others in a digital, virtual reality environment. This is seen as a step into ‘ambient computing’, which according to Digital Trends is “an environment of smart devices, data, A.I. decisions, and human activity that enables computer actions alongside everyday life, without the need for direct human commands or intervention”. This is not a foreign concept for gamers, as social elements of the metaverse are already there in games like Fortnite. For the rest of us, the metaverse is still very important to understand as it’s now attracting big business. 

Here are five news stories that we find interesting about the metaverse as it relates to payments:

  1. Meta Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has a virtual reality environment called Horizon Worlds that launched in December 2021. It’s now testing a payment mechanism that enables creators to sell virtual assets and content in Horizon Worlds. Their plan is to take more than 47% of sales in charges and fees. 
  2. Fidelity InvestmentsFidelity Investments has expanded two new thematic ETFs (exchange-traded funds) into the crypto and metaverse industries. Fidelity Metaverse ETF makes it possible for investors to invest in companies that develop, manufacture, or sell products/services related to the metaverse. 
  3. JP MorganJP Morgan recently became the first bank to enter the metaverse, opening a lounge in Decentraland. Their Onyx lounge allows institutions and businesses the opportunity to enter the metaverse. According to JP Morgan, the metaverse poses a market opportunity of $1 trillion in annual revenue. For transactions specifically, they report that $54b is spent yearly on virtual goods.
  4. Major Card Issuers – Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are all making moves in the metaverse. American Express has made trademark applications that demonstrate that they have plans, and although they are not yet sharing their exact plans, they say that “metaverse is a space we’re following”. While Visa has not yet made any filings their Consulting & Analytics arm has begun to advise financial institutions on the metaverse and how it will impact their future. Mastercard’s patent and trademark filings have also revealed that they are planning to move into metaverse commerce, although they have not yet shared plans publicly.   
  5. HSBCHSBC will be purchasing a plot of virtual land in the gaming environment The Sandbox (typically used to host games and contests). HSBC plans to use their plot of land to connect with sports and gaming enthusiasts. According to HSBC, “The metaverse is how people will experience Web3, the next generation of the internet—using immersive technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality and extended reality,” said Suresh Balaji, chief marketing officer for Asia-Pacific at HSBC. “At HSBC, we see great potential to create new experiences through emerging platforms.”

As the year progresses, we expect to see many more stories like this. The growing popularity of the metaverse demonstrates the importance of having a modern payments platform that allows your financial institution to quickly innovate in response to the industry trends. 

To learn more about what to expect this year, read the article, Payments in 2022: What You Need to Know


Today’s legacy and siloed banking technology infrastructure limit financial institutions’ ability to rapidly innovate. It’s time to look at money movement in a new way. Alacriti’s Orbipay Unified Money Movement Services does just that. Whether it’s real-time payments, digital disbursements, or bill pay, our cloud-based platform enables banks and credit unions to quickly and seamlessly deliver modern digital payments and money movement experiences. To speak to an Alacriti payments expert, please call us at (908) 791-2916 or email info@alacriti.com.

What is Payments Orchestration?

*Originally published on CUInsight.com

The term ‘payments orchestration’ seems to be everywhere, but what is it? As defined by PaymentsJournal, payments orchestration is: 

A Payments Orchestration layer manages and unifies payments from diverse gateways, payment methods, 3rd party services, and platforms in order to minimize costs, optimize customer experience, and decrease time to market. The Orchestration layer acts as a hub for traditionally more commercial facing or wholesale applications although it can and does also consolidate merchant facing applications.

The term orchestration is really talking about automation—how your system can help automate payments from initiation all the way through clearing and settlement. There’s a lot that happens from Point A to Point B on that journey, including: 

  • UI/X – This is where the payment originates and businesses can add and remove features from their payments as they please. Businesses can make changes themselves instead of having to change their IT infrastructure or switch to a new payments services provider. 

 

  • Approvals and queue management – Payments orchestration helps organizations increase their approval rates. Connectivity to multiple networks allows utilizing the best acquirer to route the payment authorization request, as well as switching when a provider has downtime, poor performance, etc.

 

  • Payment engine services – These include formatting, validating that the payment instructions are correct, limit and fraud checks, OFAC/AML screening, etc.

 

  • Gateway service – The connection to the clearing/settlement networks. Gateway services process inputted information and facilitate payment authorization. 

 

  • Notification – Notification from the gateway service that the transaction was accepted/successful.

 

In sum, orchestration handles the full end-to-end lifecycle of a payment. It leverages API services from external systems that need to be invoked, and should be configurable for each financial institution. API’s make it possible for payments capabilities to be added quickly and cost-effectively. This flexibility can facilitate key payment functions such as intelligent routing. From an end-user standpoint, the payment process is simplified as payments orchestration removes much of the friction consumers face. Ultimately, payments orchestration automates as much as possible. 

The payment engine is where payments orchestration happens. The Alacriti payment engine, Cosmos, is the underpinning system of record for payments. Cosmos is the backend connectivity for banks and credit unions to connect to various networks, including The Clearing House’s RTP® network, the FedNowSM Service
 when it’s live, Visa Direct, and heritage platforms such as Fedwire and ACH. Its cloud-native structure makes it both affordable and scalable. 

Learn about another common payments term, ‘payments services hub’, in the blog Payments Services Hub Explained


Alacriti’s centralized payment platform, Cosmos, provides innovation opportunities and the ability to make smart routing decisions at the financial institution to meet their individual needs. Financial institutions can take full ownership of their payments, and control their evolution with ACH, Wire, TCH RTP® network, Visa Direct, and the FedNowSM Service, all on one, cloud-based platform. To speak with an Alacriti payments expert, please contact us at (908) 791-2916 or info@alacriti.com. 

Real-Time Everything

The boon the “Great Recession” has had on the technology space was a hot topic during the pandemic’s quarantine period. Just looking at the sheer volume of companies and products we rely on in our day-to-day life that sprouted in the aftermath of our last recession (June 2009) is mind-boggling. Whether it is ordering groceries from home using InstaCart (est. 2013), food from Postmates (est. 2011), thinking about traveling again while scrolling through Instagram (est. 2010), considering the implications of the coming Metaverse or maybe even looking to lower your loan obligations on SoFi (est. 2011), our real-life and online lives are converging at increasingly rapid pace.

Our lives and experiences in the past 10 years have been drastically changed by smartphones and the app-based ecosystem and economy that followed. And, of course, there has been a theme of instant gratification running throughout. Many of the great ideas that came out of the last recession were focused on making life simpler and gaining instant access to the things we want and need. In line with Moore’s law—an indicator of the speed at which technology advances—the implementation of real-time experiences and companies leveraging real-time technology will make its use increasingly ubiquitous in our lives. 

Payments and banking services, initially slow to react to the new market dynamics of the last decade, have been alive with rapid activity. At the epicenter of this trend is the first new central payment system to enter the market in four decades, The Clearing House’s RTP ® System, which launched in 2017. Putting that in perspective, if you graduated college after 1995, the payment systems keeping our country functioning were already up and running when you were born. For fun, check out what also happened in 1995. 

With the new financial infrastructure in place, we are seeing real-time innovation in banking and payments. Similar to the companies launched as part of the dawning app-based ecosystem in the post-great recession technology boom, banking is poised for its moment of innovation, with early adopters already finding innovative ways to provide value to consumers using real-time payment rails (expedited/immediate bill pay for a premium price, anyone?).

For the most part, it remains to be seen how these innovations will manifest as a better user experience e.g., more visibility into where your money is or where it is going, new products and services from banks such as instant loans, increasingly personalized products or instant payroll. But one thing’s for sure, the foundation of a real-time ecosystem in banking and payments is rapidly taking shape and I’m excited to see where innovators take us over the next decade.

Find out what’s in store this year in the webinar, Payments in 2022: What You Need to Know. 

Updated from a blog originally published July 8, 2020


Alacriti’s Cosmos for RTP® enables financial institutions and organizations to quickly and seamlessly connect to The Clearing House’s RTP® network without the burden of significant infrastructure overhauls or capital investments. To speak with an Alacriti real-time payments expert, please contact us at (908) 791-2916 or info@alacriti.com.

Everyday Automation: How Voice Payments Are Being Heard

Our voices are becoming more powerful than ever. Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), and smart home devices, our voices can control everything from turning up our thermostats to selecting our favorite television shows.

It wasn’t so long ago that intelligent personal assistants that respond to voice commands were considered cutting edge, but they’re also becoming more commonplace in our daily lives, especially in the aftermath of the global pandemic when adoption swung abruptly upwards with Juniper Research projecting there will be 8.4 billion devices in use by 2024.

The pandemic has given voice assistant technology another level of importance and has opened new avenues for its use. For example, Mayo Clinic used Amazon Alexa to assess symptoms and access information on COVID-19. Amazon has imparted the ability to answer tens of thousands of questions related to the virus. Alexa’s Mayo Clinic First-Aid skill offers self-guidance.

As the technology that powers intelligent personal assistants continues to be refined, there are new applications for it created daily. Here are three innovative uses of voice commands via smart home devices that help automate everyday tasks.

1. Voice shopping

With the uptick in popularity of shopping from home, voice shopping using a smart speaker has proven to be a huge convenience. Amazon built a voice shopping experience that makes reordering and buying new products via Alexa easier than ever. Using a simple command like, “Alexa, order paper towels”, gives shoppers the ability to either reorder items from their order history or have Alexa find new items to buy. The final price is always provided before order confirmation. And if the user doesn’t have an Alexa home device, they can access voice shopping via the Amazon mobile app.

Google offers a similar experience through Google Express in which Google Assistant responds to voice commands via Google Home devices. There is free shipping for orders above the store minimum, and Walmart and Target both offer products via the service, meaning there is a large assortment of products to choose from. As with Alexa, a Google Home device is activated using a voice command like, “OK Google, order paper towels”, and different options are given along with their total prices including tax. Once a product is confirmed by the user, the order is placed. Voice Match enables users to secure Google Assistance purchases. Using your voice has the potential to be more seamless than responding to a fingerprint or face unlock prompt. 

2. Voice donations

Amazon has enabled Alexa to users make charitable donations using voice commands via Amazon Pay. Users can either direct a donation to a specific charity that’s on the platform or say, “Alexa, make a donation,” and Alexa can suggest a charity. Almost 400 nonprofit organizations have registered to accept donations via Alexa, (the list of charities is available here) and it continues to grow, making supporting charitable organizations easier than ever.

3. Voice bill payments

While voice commands can facilitate common tasks around your home, they can also facilitate the transactions that keep your home running (think mortgage, utilities, insurance, and auto finance payments). Intelligent personal assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant can also facilitate bill payment tasks like inquiring about account balances, checking due dates, and making voice-activated payments. By automating these important transactions, intelligent personal assistants can help users keep their finances on track and facilitate on-time bill payments.

The Bottom Line: Voice technology is facilitating everyday tasks like never before. One day medical robots may be able to take over for nurses and doctors with some tasks initiated via voice interaction. For now, in addition to checking the weather, playing music, and setting reminders, it can also automate transactions that keep households running smoothly – like making on-time bill payments.

Updated from a blog originally published May 28, 2020

Read about how the IoT affects payments in the blog, Payments and the Internet of Things (IoT)


Alacriti created Ella, an AI-powered chatbot that facilitates seamless, personalized, and context-aware interactions between you and your customers through messaging apps, intelligent personal assistants, and directly on your website. To find out how Ella can transform how you engage with your customers, contact us at (908) 791-2916 or info@alacriti.com.

The Fastest Route to Faster Payments Success

Alacriti is a member of the U.S. Faster Payments Council (FPC) and we continue to be excited to help shape the future of payments.  FPC and payments consulting firm Glenbrook Partners teamed up for a multi-year study following key developments in the U.S. faster payments market. As a result, The Faster Payments Council released this report containing valuable forward-looking insights, some highlights of which we feel are still valuable to review as they relate to consumer bill payments as real-time payments availability and acceptance continues to grow exponentially.  

Bill Payments as a Use Case for Faster Payments 

Many use cases are of interest to the market when it comes to faster payments. However, there was one that stands out to us as top-of-the-list: bill payments. In fact, according to the FPC/Glenbrook Partners report, bill pay was ranked as the top use case by 59 percent of respondents. When we talk about bill payments, there are two models:

  1. The biller direct model – the payor pays the payee directly on the biller’s website or app.
  2. Bank bill pay – the initiation of the payment is done via the payor’s bank’s website. 

There are pluses and minuses for both models depending on who you are asking (the consumer, the bank, the biller, or the vendor); however, one thing is for certain: this disparate model is ripe for disruption and innovation. 

Catering to the “Just-in-Time” Payor

There is a specific callout for the persona within bill payments that will benefit most from the introduction of faster or real-time payments into the modelthe just-in-time payor, otherwise known as “the procrastinator” who often waits until the last second to pay bills. 

Addressing “Disappearing Payments” with Transparency

With bank bill pay services, there is a period where the movement of the payment disappears from view. When the customer submits their payment within the bank bill pay system, they typically receive a confirmation that their payment has been successfully submitted, but there is a twenty-four to seventy-two-hour period where the money itself is in transit, either in the bank’s batch-based system, within the clearing and settlement process in the network, at the merchant’s bank or loading into the system of record at the biller. The payment leaves your account but doesn’t arrive in the merchant’s account for one to three days, potentially creating anxiety for consumers as they have no insight into the status of their payment, damaging the customer experience.  

Real-time payments eliminate this anxiety. As soon as the consumer sends a payment, they receive a notification that the payment has reached the merchant, instantly.  This is the digital equivalent of handing cash over to a cashier at checkout, but better since the merchant doesn’t have to undergo a separate, expensive and time-consuming process to collect the money and later deposit it in their account. The process is fully transparent, unable to be refuted, and instant on both ends.  As Glenbrook Partners states in the report, “Faster payments allow financial institutions to provide consumers with a transparent bill pay experience and billers with improved reconciliation.”

These and many other use cases are contributing to the overall increased availability and adoption of real-time payments by financial institutions. If your institution is not currently exploring how real-time payments can be an integral part of your strategy for customer acquisition and retention, the time to consider is now. 

Updated from a blog originally published July 28, 2020

Billing and Payments for Credit Unions: 7 Questions to Consider

Credit unions have come a long way in terms of the scope of their reach and the sophistication of their product portfolios, specifically in lending. In addition to direct lending, credit unions may also offer indirect loans through businesses in their community, such as auto dealerships where consumers can receive financing at the point of sale. Many credit unions are also opting to grow their commercial loan business, which has been an area ripe for opportunity within recent years. 

Servicing these loans means that credit unions need to present bills and collect payments from their members. Credit unions may have an advantage in offering members the intimacy of a limited number of branch locations where employees know their members’ names and can assist with account inquiries and payments. On the flip side, their for-profit counterparts often have a greater amount of digitization more and more consumers are looking for. Modern digital banking solutions that streamline loan-related billing and payments is not a convenience that credit union members want to go without. 

So, what should credit unions be looking for in their electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) solution? Here are seven questions credit unions should ask. 

1. How can I let my members know that a bill is ready for payment?

Make sure your EBPP solution has options for letting your members know that a bill is ready to pay. Bill-ready alerts and notifications may include paper bills, email, and SMS-based text messages. Give your members the option to combine these notifications in a manner that makes them most likely to pay their bills on time.

2. Can I offer my members different billing options for recurring charges like monthly loan payments?

Your members might be looking for more than a one-time bill payment option. Offering AutoPay can help them manage their finances and ensure that they never miss a payment. It can also help your credit union maintain a steady, predictable stream of payments.

In addition, recurring payments give members the flexibility to align payments with their personal financial situations. For example, they can make payments bi-monthly to coincide with paydays or set payment limits for additional financial protection. Recurring payments don’t need to be “one size fits all”they can be customized to meet each member’s unique needs.

3. What options can I provide my members for payment methods? Can our credit union accept payments from other bank accounts?

An EBPP solution should easily support and accept an array of payment methods, including debit cards, credit cards, and ACH payments made from both in-house accounts and external accounts. Another increasingly popular method is pay-by-text. Members do not have to sign in to send your credit union a payment. This added convenience can accelerate cash flow and, of course, adds to the member experience. Another feature to ask about is integration with artificial intelligence (AI). For instance, members should be able to ask Amazon’s Alexa to make a payment for them. 

4. Some of our members like to pay in-person, some like to call us, and others are looking to do everything from their mobile devices. How do we support payments across all these different channels?

Your EBPP solution should account for a wide variety of payment channels, from IVR and walk-ins to mobile payments. The technology can streamline acceptance across all these channels and record the data in a single solution for a top-down view into your entire payments program.

In addition, it should be able to consolidate all receivables across your credit unionnot just a specific portfolio. For example, each retail lending division within the credit union could have a separate payment strategy within the same EBPP solution to drive efficiency and create transparency across the entire organization.

5. Servicing our members is our top priority. What should we be looking for in an EBPP solution so our member experience is top-notch?

By having all your payments recorded in one solution, you can improve operational efficiency for your member-facing teams. They should be able to easily pull billing and payments reports from your EBPP solution to answer questions and resolve issues on behalf of your members.

6. We have so many considerations to think about when it comes to the security of our financial data and the regulations that our credit union is subject to. Do we need to worry about compliance for our payments too?

PCI DSS compliance is a must when you’re accepting electronic payments. Your EBPP solution provider should be able to handle PCI DSS compliance on your behalf by ensuring that you’re never directly exposed to sensitive payment data. This will keep your credit union out of scope for PCI DSS compliance, meaning your EBPP solution provider worries about itnot you.

7. What aren’t we thinking about when it comes to billing and payments?

Payments are continuously evolving. Credit unions should be focused on serving the needs of their members, not trying to keep up with the latest payment trends. Choose an EBPP provider that will do this on your behalf and implement their technology seamlessly, so you can offer the best, most contemporary experience to your members.

The Bottom Line: Credit union members are looking for the same modern billing and payment solutions that larger, for-profit banks offer. Partnering with the right EBPP solution provider can accelerate cash flow while providing members with better choices and more streamlined experiences.

Updated from a blog originally published July 20, 2020

What should credit unions look for in a payments fintech partner overall? Find out in Checklist: What Credit Unions Should Look for in a Payments Fintech Partner. How Alacriti Scores.

Payment Services Hub Explained

*Originally published on CUInsight.com

“Payment services hub” can mean different things depending on who you are talking to and what time period you’re looking at in payments industry history. The term first appeared in the analyst community to describe the consolidation of systems supporting Fedwire and ACH processing, helping large financial institutions bring together their commercial payment operations. This complex consolidation was feasible because both systems operated in similar windows (the time in which the network can accept and process a payment), allowing banks to align cut-off times and run their large overnight batch processing operations, reconcile their internal core systems—and be ready to do it all over again when the window opened the next business day.  

Today, “payment services hub” represents an even broader concept, combining not just heritage payment types like ACH and wires, but also supporting the new real-time payment rails including TCH’s RTP® network, the reverse debit networks Visa Direct and MasterCard Send, as well as forthcoming networks like FedNow. A payment services hub is a single centralized platform to connect the financial institution to multiple rails and centralize payment management and operations. These new platforms, like everything else in this new era of payments, are cloud-based, enabling them to rapidly scale as unknown volumes turn into tomorrow’s revenue streams.

The new real-time and faster payment networks are all built on the modern ISO 20022 standard, making the transition from the traditional payment services “hub” space to the modern platform discussion even more imperative. The new payment ecosystem also means financial institutions have more choice when it comes to participating in new rails or networks. Choice doesn’t necessarily mean one rail is better than the other or that the FI won’t be able to support a specific use case if the FI chooses one option over another; however, it is critical that choosing to offer one rail over another doesn’t lead to a dead end if a year, three years, or ten years down the road there’s a need need to pivot. Having flexible rail options creates opportunities, including smart routing capabilities, that can’t be ignored. The result—smarter, faster payments. 

New options present a challenge for financial institutions—how to offer various payment products without confusing the end-user? An end-to-end payments platform simplifies both the front end and the back end, which creates cost savings and opens up revenue opportunities. For instance, a bank may have to pay more to make an immediate payment but can charge their customer for the expedited payment. Smart routing can also imply ‘least-cost routing’ made popular with debit transactions. However, smart routing goes beyond choosing the cheapest rail to ride, balancing time, dollar value, and consumer and FI preferences. 

Modern payment services hubs, or as we refer to them “flexible payments platforms”, are important for the future success of financial institutions. They deliver future proofing so functions and features, as well as new rail connectivity for processing, can be added without full rip and replacement of point solutions. As a result, financial institutions can reduce transaction costs, and more importantly be set up to stay ahead in innovation.  


Alacriti’s centralized payment platform, Cosmos,  provides innovation opportunities and the ability to make smart routing decisions at the financial institution to meet their individual needs. Financial institutions can take full ownership of their payments, and control their evolution with ACH, Wire, TCH RTP, and FedNow, all on one, cloud-based platform. To speak with an Alacriti payments expert, please contact us at (908) 791-2916 or info@alacriti.com.

Working Together: Financial Institutions and Fintech Partners

Banking and technology go hand-in-hand. Many top tier financial institutions are investing heavily in innovation labs, tech experts, and other resources to bring next generation fintech solutions to market. However, they sometimes struggle to do this on their own due to size, magnitude, or lack of in-house expertise.

One of the biggest considerations in developing fintech solutions is speed to market. As technology becomes more prominent in banking, some financial institutions want to break away from a reputation for slow progress. They not only need to develop highly secure technological solutions that can successfully serve customers with diverse needs, but also deliver and implement these solutions at a pace that’s rapid enough to stay competitive.

Silos are another challenge that financial institutions encounter in their attempts to modernize services and operations. As technology evolved over the years, financial institutions often utilized an assortment of products that failed to work harmoniously with one another. These disparate systems can create significant organizational and administrative challenges within the banking ecosystem. A fintech partner can help make sense of these silos and restructure or develop new technological infrastructure to help carry established financial institutions into the modern age.

As market demands increase, many financial institutions find that they need more comprehensive technology support. For some, outsourcing technology services may be the most cost-effective solution. Working with a fintech partner can provide access to an arsenal of expertise and open doors to innovation that financial institutions might not consider on their own.

Security is paramount, especially as public concerns over cyber and financial crime continue to escalate. A fintech partner can help fill the gaps in a financial institution’s internal resources and equip it with the expertise and finesse required for particularly high-risk undertakings. The right partner can ensure that solutions are innovative and user-friendly, as well as secure and compliant with all regulations.

Outside the Box Thinking

Aside from partnering with fintechs for technology platforms, financial institutions can also leverage fintech-developed services to gain a competitive advantage and market differentiation. A Cornerstone Advisors report lists three potential areas small to mid-size financial institutions can leverage:

  1. Bill negotiation services that integrate with a financial institution’s bill pay platform and analyzer consumer bill payment activity to make recommendations for ways to lower bills and save money.
  2. Subscription service management that offers consumers one place to subscribe, manage and cancel all subscription services from one location. 
  3. Data breach and identity protection services that make dealing with data breaches easier for both consumers and the financial institution by continually analyzing reported data breaches throughout the U.S. and assigning a risk score to activities. 

The Bottom Line

Development and deployment of fintech solutions require significant investment of resources. Therefore, financial institutions may feel more comfortable working with a partner that has both the bandwidth to deliver high-quality fintech solutions to market and a proven track record of doing so. In addition, fintech companies serve more than one client, giving them a unique vantage point unavailable to an individual institution. It could take an internal team several months to research an issue and determine the best solution for it. Alternatively, fintech companies are poised to quickly offer a diverse array of solutions that can be customized for any sector or function.

With a trusted fintech partner, financial institutions can capitalize on a bird’s eye view into the industry, leverage security and compliance expertise, accelerate product delivery and continually innovate. An astute fintech partner can be instrumental in helping generate new revenue and achieve goals quickly and efficiently. For financial institutions, aligning with fintech partners that offer strategic, cost-effective solutions and support can be an intelligent investment as competition within the industry continues to heighten.

Updated from a blog originally published January 22, 2020. 

Read the checklists for what banks or credit unions should look for in a payments fintech partner. 


Today’s legacy and siloed banking technology infrastructure limit financial institutions’ ability to rapidly innovate. It’s time to look at money movement in a new way. Alacriti’s Orbipay Unified Money Movement Services does just that. Whether it’s real-time payments, digital disbursements, or bill pay, our cloud-based platform enables banks and credit unions to quickly and seamlessly deliver modern digital payments and money movement experiences. To speak to an Alacriti payments expert, please call us at (908) 791-2916 or email info@alacriti.com.

How Credit Unions Can Turn Indirect One-and-Done Members Into Direct Members

The current car-buying market hasn’t been this hot for a long time. Fortunately, credit unions have been steadily increasing indirect lending through car dealers to grow their loan portfolios and membership bases. However, converting indirect members into engaged members with deeper banking relationships is no easy task. A plethora of products and services are available for indirect members to benefit from, but why are so few taking advantage of what credit unions have to offer? It may have something to do with the member experience. 

The payments arena presents a huge opportunity to gain competitive advantage. Today’s consumers want flexible, convenient, simple, and innovative ways to pay, and they want the places where they shop and bank to provide new payment options and technologies. Indirect members typically already have a “primary financial institution” (PFI) relationship with banks that may have more money to invest in the latest and greatest technologies offering ease and convenience. So, what can, and should, credit unions do to tackle this problem head-on?

Digital EBPP Capabilities to the Rescue

An electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) solution can deliver bills faster and encourage on-time payments. Some key digital EBPP features providing flexibility, convenience, and frictionless simplicity to indirect credit union members, include:

  • More Payment OptionsACH; credit, debit and prepaid cards; direct debit bank transfers; and eWallets like Apple Pay, PayPal, Venmo, and Zelle give indirect members the ability to pay in the way that makes the most sense for their individual financial situations versus the clunky process of paying by check. 

  • One-Time Online Guest Payments – Indirect members can make payments without enrolling in an online portal with a hosted webpage or opening an account that comes with online banking. 

  • Autopay Programs – Autopay automatically schedules and deducts monthly payments from indirect member’s credit or debit cards or bank accounts on due dates, ensuring late fees are not assessed. Indirect members can easily set up autopay via a quick and easy online enrollment process. 

  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Payments – Although not so new, automated IVR systems enable indirect members to make one-time payments from smartphones and tablets quickly and easily.

  • Pay by TextBy leveraging the power of SMS text messaging, credit unions can deliver highly-personalized payments experience to indirect members by allowing them to select how many days in advance they want to receive bill-ready alerts and the digital payment option they want to use to pay. Upon receiving a bill-ready alert, indirect members simply reply with a “PAY” command text to initiate a payment from the funding source previously established. A payment confirmation text is sent back to the member’s device indicating the transaction has been completed. 

  • Chatbot Support and Payments – Credit union customer service agents can communicate with indirect members about their bills and accept payments via Facebook Messenger, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant with chatbot capabilities. Customers can receive bill-ready payment-related notifications and reminders once accounts are linked. 

And, of course, these experiences can be made available to direct credit union members as well. 

The Bottom Line: Besides accelerating cash flow and streamlining operations, credit unions that offer robust and innovative EBPP capabilities have a tremendous opportunity to deepen member relationships. Turning indirect, one-and-done members into long-term, direct members. 

Updated from a blog originally published April 30, 2020.

When indirect members love the loan experience, it can lead to opening new accounts or loans as direct members. Learn about Maximizing the Member Experience Through Payments in the webinar featuring Alabama Credit Union. 


Today’s legacy and siloed banking technology infrastructure limit financial institutions’ ability to rapidly innovate. It’s time to look at money movement in a new way. Alacriti’s Orbipay Unified Money Movement Services does just that. Whether it’s real-time payments, digital disbursements, or bill pay, our cloud-based platform enables banks and credit unions to quickly and seamlessly deliver modern digital payments and money movement experiences. To speak to an Alacriti payments expert, please call us at (908) 791-2916 or email info@alacriti.com.

Offering More Payment Channels Improves the Customer Experience

Customer experience is the result of interactions between you and your customers over the duration of your relationship. Offering convenience and flexibility around the payment channels your customers use enhances their experience, which leads to increased loyalty and retention, plus increases the likelihood you’ll get paid. It also helps your business remain competitive, reduce costs, and stimulate cash flow. 

A payment channel is any location, place, or access point a customer might use to make a payment, or anywhere or any way that your business might accept a payment from them. 

Here’s a list of payment channels you may want to consider offering to your customers:  

  • Lockbox – Mail
  • Physical Location – Walk-In, Point-of-Sale (POS), Mobile Point-of-Sale (mPOS) or Self-Service Kiosk
  • Voice – Telephone Call Center CSR, Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
  • Digital – Online Web Portal, Email, Chatbot, Autopay/Recurring Billing, or Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)
  • Mobile – Apps, Texts

In addition, offering more ways to pay or forms of payment to customers along with the channels listed above matters too as they are looking to pay with the methods they know and trust:

  • Cash
  • Checks
  • ACH
  • Credit, Debit, and Prepaid Cards
  • eWallets (e.g. Apple Pay, Android Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, Square Cash, Venmo, Zelle, etc.)
  • Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL)
  • Cryptocurrency

Emerging payment options, such as BNPL, are gaining traction in the post-pandemic economy. BNPL allows consumers the convenience and purchasing power of credit—without the paperwork, qualifying red tape or high interest rates.  According to Cornerstone Advisors, retail purchases are projected to quadruple to $100 billion in 2021 compared to $24 billion in 2020. 

Consumer interest in cryptocurrency is also expanding—as both an investment vehicle and a payment option—though the vast majority of U.S. financial institutions remain reticent about issuing it. Again, according to Cornerstone Advisors, some 60 percent of current crypto owners would invest in crypto with their bank, and 68 percent would be interested in Bitcoin-based debit and credit rewards.

Today’s consumers are comfortable using multiple channels to pay interchangeably, and they expect to have a uniform customer experience across all the channels they access to facilitate simple, frictionless bill payments on a regular, ongoing basis. 

For example, you may have a customer use a debit card at a physical location accepted by a CSR or self-service kiosk as they begin their relationship with your business, but then they might switch to an online portal for a one-time ACH payment, and then set up autopay with a credit card as their relationship with you deepens.   

Whatever the case, consumers want options and control over the various aspects of how and when they pay. 

The Bottom Line: Do payment channels matter? The answer is yes. The more payment channels and methods you offer, the more likely your customers will pay their next bill, and the next, and the next, increasing their loyalty, satisfaction, and lifetime value to your business. 

Updated from a blog originally published February 25, 2020.

Learn more about what consumers expect in the webinar, Payments in 2022: What You Need to Know


Today’s legacy and siloed banking technology infrastructure limit financial institutions’ ability to rapidly innovate. It’s time to look at money movement in a new way. Alacriti’s Orbipay Unified Money Movement Services does just that. Whether it’s real-time payments, digital disbursements, or bill pay, our cloud-based platform enables banks and credit unions to quickly and seamlessly deliver modern digital payments and money movement experiences. To speak to an Alacriti payments expert, please call us at (908) 791-2916 or email info@alacriti.com.