Request-to-Pay: it’s about the experience!

Feb 10, 2023 - 5 min read
Also Available in : Français
Hugues Leclere, Product Manager Payments at Sopra Banking Software
  • According to a survey by Galitt, 80% of Europeans only see advantages when it comes to RtP.
  • For FIs to capitalize on RtP, their service must offer a fluid customer journey that’s convenient and quick. First-rate CX hinges on three core pillars: acceptance, trust and speed.
  • When it comes to Request-to-Pay, the main challenges banks face revolve around cost, legacy systems and the limitations of existing technology.

At last year’s Sopra Banking Summit, our expert speakers discussed Request-to-Pay (RtP) and the importance of customer experience. Laurent Hupet, Payments Business Line Director at Sopra Banking Software, also gave a sneak peek of our state-of-the-art Request-to-Pay solution.  Below, we explore RtP in more detail.

Request-to-Pay is a messaging service that fills a gaping hole in the financial services industry. Referred to as the “missing link” in the European payments chain, RtP is designed to help consumers, businesses, not-for-profits and governments manage their money better. It does that by providing improved visibility around cash flow and payments and enhanced flexibility for end users.

At the same time, Request-to-Pay offers financial institutions (FIs), fintechs, and payment initiation service providers a valuable opportunity to build innovative solutions that reduce consumer effort and foster loyalty. 

There’s customer appetite too, with research by Galitt revealing “an overwhelmingly positive response”. But to make RtP a success, a secure, fast and seamless customer experience (CX) is crucial.

What is Request-to-Pay?

This “missing link” allows a payee (biller) to digitally request a payment from a payer. The RtP function works as follows:

  1. Payee (individual or company) sends details to the payer.
  2. Payer checks the details and securely authenticates the request with their bank through a web or mobile channel (or declines, if the payment is invalid).
  3. Payer completes the payment – in full or via installments – and the funds are instantly released to the payee’s account.
  4. Payee receives confirmation that the request is accepted and payment has been made.

Furthermore, the payee can link an invoice to the message, enabling quick and easy reconciliation while reducing unnecessary paper-based admin. RtP’s varied use cases include:

  • Peer-to-peer. Securely settling a bill with friends.
  • Business-to-consumer. Paying an electrician for their services.
  • Business-to-business. Instantly clearing a bill for IT equipment.
  • Government-to-consumer. Paying taxes or fines at the click of a button.

Request-to-Pay frameworks

At the end of 2019, SEPA’s Request-to-Pay (SRTP) scheme was outlined and endorsed. Public consultation and an RtP rulebook followed in 2020, with several updated versions released since then.

The latest – v3.0 – includes enhanced features such as installment payments and the possibility for payees to send credit notes. The scheme provides a level playing field by outlining operating rules and technical elements for RtP service providers to follow.

Meanwhile, the UK’s Request-to-Pay framework launched in mid-2020, offering a secure messaging structure that overlays existing payment infrastructures.

It’s worth noting that RtP providers can deploy the service outside of these guidelines, via APIs and open banking rules established under the Payment Services Directive 2 (or the equivalent).

Request-to-Pay adoption

In October 2020, UK-based Ordo, an open banking-enabled payment services provider, launched an RtP service for invoicing, billing runs and personal payments. And in late 2021, NatWest Group unveiled PayMe, an in-app feature for peer-to-peer payments. 

The Netherlands has iDEAL, Sweden has Swish, and Hungary went live with Request-to-Pay in early 2020. Additionally, The Clearing House launched the US version – Request for Payment (RfP) – in November 2017.   

Further afield, Australians use BPAY for bill payments and Nigerians have Remita.  Indian consumers have used Unified Payment Interface (UPI) Collect since 2016, and more recently, Malaysia’s PayNet introduced an RtP service.

Banks and Request-to-Pay

For FIs to capitalize on RtP, their service must offer a fluid customer journey that’s convenient and quick. First-rate CX hinges on three core pillars: acceptance, trust and speed.


Request-to-Pay is built for end users, so it’s vital they’re on board. According to a survey by Galitt 80% of Europeans only see advantages when it comes to RtP, including:

  • Control over when and how much to pay.
  • Ability to pay via installments.
  • Payment security.
  • Can request a payment extension.
  • Confident payment goes to the right account.
  • End-to-end link between invoice and payment.


Despite 25% of respondents feeling payments are secure, some have concerns about requester identification. The SRTP scheme tackled that by adding standardized enrollment and activation processes to the rulebook. As such, RtP service providers are obligated to verify the identity of their customers – payers and payees.

Security is also verified via the Homologation Body, certifying “an applicant has the ‘capability’ from an operational, security, and business continuity point of view” to fulfill a list of requirements defined in the EPC’s Trust and Security Framework. These include developing a secure and reliable technical infrastructure, ensuring reachability and interoperability with SRTP scheme participants, and being operational 24/7/365.

In September 2021, the EPC announced Sopra Steria as one of the independent homologation bodies for the SRTP scheme.


We’re living in an age of instant gratification, where customers want services faster than ever. As per an ACI Worldwide consumer survey, 38% of people would change their payment channel for a quicker one, and 30% feel frustrated by long processing times. And so, Request-to-Pay must be speedy in the following two ways:

  1. RtP message is sent quickly between the payee and payer.
  2. Fast payment exchange between banks via APIs.

Collaborating with third parties 

When it comes to Request-to-Pay, the main challenges banks face revolve around cost, legacy systems and the limitations of existing technology. That’s where partnering with trusted third parties like Sopra Banking Software comes into play.

Our end-to-end RtP solution supports a wide range of use cases and channels. It offers:

  • Full process coverage that meets RtP and real-time requirements.
  • High scalability to cope with volume peaks.
  • Future-proof architecture that’s cloud-native and microservices-based.
  • Different deployment modes, including on-premise and Service-as-a-Software.
  • Multi-language, multi-institutional, and multi-currency functionalities.

On top of that, it’s possible to integrate value-add, monetizable functions via APIs, such as:

  • Electronic vaults to save invoices and linked documents.
  • Automated short-term credit.
  • Real-time and categorized spending analytics.
  • Robust and automatic reconciliation between invoices and payments.

The future of payments

Request-to-Pay offers users control and active management; demand comes from several sources, including retail customers and businesses. As momentum gathers, RtP services will broaden, giving banks the opportunity to extend their offering and cultivate loyalty.

With many traditional FIs at the limit of their strategic and technological capacities, outsourcing to innovative third parties is an appealing proposition – companies that put the customer experience front and center.