Bottomline Technologies Powers Real-time Payment Innovation through Partnership with Starling

Bottomline Technologies (NASDAQ:EPAY), a leading provider of financial technology that helps make complex business payments simple, smart and secure, today announced its partnership with Starling Bank, the leading digital banking platform, and the launch of Bottomline’s Real Time Payments Express Service. This new 24×7 service will allow banks and corporates to send, receive and track payments in real-time to any UK bank account.

For many corporates and banks, becoming a direct member of the Faster Payments Scheme can be challenging. The implementation costs, payment expertise and restrictive timelines can extend projects into many months and leaves the ongoing compliance burden inside the organisation. To solve this, Bottomline’s Real Time Payments Express offering, powered by Starling’s Banking Services, will supply an API driven real-time payment and settlement service, which provides all the core benefits of the historical access methods to Faster Payments.

“Real-time payments are becoming the new norm around the world. In the UK, where the Faster Payments Scheme has enjoyed over a decade of growth, we have the technology needed to allow more participants to gain the benefit of full access to 24×7 instant payments,” said Julian Sawyer, Head of Banking Services at Starling Bank. “Our new solution partnered with Bottomline delivers exactly this.”

Bottomline is driving payment innovation in the market, helping businesses to develop and scale new real-time services quickly and cost effectively, without the need for long development cycles and complex legal agreements. The Real Time Payments Express Service is available 24×7, is SAAS-based and equipped with full tracking to allow customers to see exactly where their payments have been made and received in the network.

“There is real transformation coming into the U.K. through the New Payments Architecture, Open Banking and PSD2 which gives rise for innovative partnership approaches like our Real Time Payments Express,” said Nigel Savory, Managing Director, Europe, Bottomline Technologies. “We insulate our clients from the ambiguity ahead by plugging them into Bottomline, where we remove the complexity and future-proof the changes ahead for them.”

Bottomline already supports CHAPS, SWIFT, Bacs, Visa B2B Connect, Direct Access Faster Payments, Paym, CASS and various other payment rails through their Universal Aggregator®, which will now offer the new Real Time Payments Express Service.

Starling was the first challenger bank to be a direct member of the Faster Payments Service and the only banking provider of real-time access to Faster Payments through APIs in the transaction banking world. Starling’s pioneering Banking Services offering enables businesses – including Payment Service Providers, retailers, corporations and fintechs – to develop and scale new products and to move money in seconds.

Cabot Financial (Luxembourg) II S.A. announces the completion of its conditional redemption of its outstanding €310,000,000 Senior Secured Floating Rate Notes due 2021 At a price of 101.000% of the Principal Amount Thereof

Cabot Financial (Luxembourg) II S.A. (the “Issuer”) announces today the completion of its conditional redemption (the “Redemption”) of its outstanding €310,000,000 Senior Secured Floating Rate Notes due 2021 (the “Notes”).

The Redemption was made upon the terms and conditions of the conditional notice of redemption dated as of June 4, 2019 (the “Redemption Notice”). The Redemption was subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Redemption Notice, including financing conditions and applicable law. Capitalized terms used and not otherwise defined in this announcement have the meanings ascribed to them in the Redemption Notice.

The Issuer hereby announces that the Condition (as defined in the Redemption Notice) has been satisfied and therefore, pursuant to Section 3.07(a) of the indenture governing the Notes, €310,000,000 in aggregate principal amount of Notes were redeemed, at a purchase price equal to 101.000% of the principal amount of the Notes on the date of purchase plus accrued and unpaid interest, from and including the date of the most recent payment of interest on the Notes to (but excluding) the Redemption Date (as defined in the Redemption Notice).

Cabot Credit Management announces closing of €400 million Senior Secured Floating Rate Notes Offering

Cabot Credit Management Limited (“CCM”) announced today that its 100% indirectly owned subsidiary Cabot Financial (Luxembourg) II S.A. (the “Issuer”) has closed an offering for €400 million aggregate principal amount of Senior Secured Floating Rate Notes due 2024 (the “Notes”) in a private placement to qualified institutional buyers pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and outside the United States to certain non-U.S. persons pursuant to Regulation S under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Offering”). The gross proceeds of the Offering were €400 million.

Many UK businesses pay late or not at all due to difficulties in cashflow

Almost half (44%) of UK businesses avoid or delay paying bills due to issues within their cashflow. Other commonly cited reasons for non-payment of invoices include receiving an incorrect invoice (21%) and corporate bureaucracy (20%). These were some of the findings of the FinTech Barometer 2019, an annual survey conducted among 1,000 finance professionals by fintech specialist Onguard.

To combat this, finance professionals who responded to the survey said they are trying to offer a wide range of payment options (30%) to customers in order to speed up payment of outstanding invoices. Some (18%) have even begun to adopt a personal payment approach to both B2B and B2C customers which includes paying through WhatsApp, Messenger or email and 6% of companies pass late-paying accounts to debt collection agencies. However, there are still some companies (13%) which have no procedure in place to speed up payment of outstanding invoices.

Marieke Saeij, Chief Technology Officer at Onguard: “There will always be outstanding invoices. It’s something all businesses have to deal with. The key is to address it as quickly as possible, so cashflow is not affected. Today, companies endeavour to act in the customer’s best interest. If a customer has personal reasons for being unable to pay an invoice, it is usually a temporary problem. In these cases, passing the account to a debt collection agency exacerbates the problem rather than solving it. By gathering detailed information about your customers, you get to know their preferences. Do they want to receive a (giro) payment slip or would they prefer to settle the payment instantly through WhatsApp? It is essential to understand customer preferences because it allows for a personal approach. This not only improves cashflow but also increases customer satisfaction.”

Verifi™ Wins FS Forum’s Product and Service Innovation Award for Payments

The Financial Services Forum (“FS Forum”) has selected Verifi, Inc.’s collaboration solution Order Insight as winner of its 2018 Product and Services Innovation Award for Payments. Verifi’s Order Insight was celebrated by FS Forum for successfully reducing transaction disputes and chargebacks, providing consumers with transparency in merchant billing information and an improved post-purchase experience.

Verifi worked directly with card-issuing bank partners and merchant clients to develop a collaboration solution that helps identify fraud and reduce the number of disputes at the point of transaction inquiry. Now a growing global network, Order Insight enables consumers to review transaction details via issuer-hosted mobile application or an online banking portal, reducing billing confusion and instances of disputed transactions. Issuer call centres can also access order details to validate sales and deflect unwarranted disputes in near real-time.

“Live since 2016, Order Insight has proven to help merchants deflect up to 55% of their disputed transactions” said Matthew Katz, Founder and CEO of Verifi. “This results in a beneficial impact on operational efficiencies, reduced fraud rates, and increased profits for merchants and issuers alike. Invariably, costs to merchants and issuers incurred from disputes and chargebacks are passed along to the consumer. The increasing adoption of Order Insight helps reduce those costs, in addition to providing a more informed and improved consumer experience.”

Recognising innovation in financial services, the FS Forum Awards celebrates technological developments that deliver tangible benefits to consumers and providers. The FS Forum Awards focuses on the overall impact that innovation has had on the payments sector and consumers. According to a Javelin Research Study, commissioned by Verifi, up to 34% of disputed transactions are caused by friendly fraud or lack of information. Order Insight highlights the importance of using data-sharing and collaboration solutions to reduce the negative impacts chargebacks have on merchants, issuers, and ultimately consumers.

New signs of European downturn – Irish businesses failing to negotiate payment terms

Companies around Europe predict increased bad debt losses, later B2B payments and higher debt risks are ahead, according to the European Payment Report from pan-European credit management firm Intrum.


Figures from the report:

  • Irish businesses are more inclined to believe that risks from debtors will decrease, with 16% expecting a reduction in 2019, compared with 11% in 2018.
  • Businesses in Ireland are more optimistic about the benefits of a cashless society than their European counterparts. Of the 63% who believe a cashless society will occur within a decade, 55% felt this would decrease operational risk and 50% said it will reduce the risk of losing customers.
  • Half of Irish firms polled (50%) do not negotiate payment terms – the highest among all European countries polled, where the average is 21%.

Across Europe, the 2019 European Payment Report shows an increase in bad debt losses, following several years of declining write-offs. Almost one-fifth (18%) of the 11,856 businesses surveyed believe their country is already in an economic down-turn. In Ireland, predictions were more positive: only 4% felt there was already a downturn and only 26% believe there will be one within the next two years.

In Ireland companies wrote off 2.0% of their revenue because of bad debt losses, down from 3.1% the previous year – this is lower than the European average of 2.3%.

However, businesses said they are still being asked to accept longer payment terms than they are comfortable with. In the survey, 32% said they had been asked by a large/ multinational corporation to accept longer terms than they wanted, 23% by a small or medium-sized business and 6% by the public sector. Despite this, 50% of the Irish companies surveyed state that they do not negotiate payment terms. This is the highest reported share among all European companies polled, where the corresponding average is 21 percent. Additional measures proposed by Irish companies are to offer payment terms (24%) and accept longer payment terms but add a surcharge (11%).

There was overwhelming support for national legislation, with 64% of those polled saying they would like to see the introduction of new legislation to tackle late payment – higher than the European average of 41%. However, 66% said they do not use European Late Payment legislation designed to help businesses with the issue.

Meanwhile, 63% of Irish businesses surveyed believe a cashless society will occur within a decade (63%). Of those, 55% believe it will decrease operational risk and 50% foresee a reduced risk of losing customers. These figures are significantly higher than the European average of 28% of businesses predicting a decrease in operational

risk and 17% predicting reduced risk of losing customers.

Moreover, a cashless society in Ireland is expected to result in an increase in consumer spending (50%) and efficiency of payment routines and accounting (58%). The corresponding figures for all European businesses polled stand at 26% for increased customer spending and 35% for increased efficiency of payment routines and accounting respectively.

There is scope for Irish businesses to expand their external trade, as international payments account for only 8.6% of payments, compared to the EU average of 10.7%. More than a third of businesses (34%) cited local payment cultures as having a negative impact on these.

“The ability to predict cashflow is key to all businesses, as financial stability is the foundation for growth,” said Eddie Nott, Managing Director for Intrum UK and Ireland. “We also predict that Irish businesses will focus on ethical debt collection in the coming months and years, striving to enhance the experience of those in financial difficulty and retain customers for the long term.”

He added: “While Irish businesses are more optimistic about the impact of bad debt than many in Europe, they are still having to accept longer payment terms than they are comfortable with. There is scope for businesses to negotiate further on payment terms to counter this and make use of existing legislation to help stem the tide of late payment.”

New signs of economic downturn – British businesses offering longer payment terms

Companies around Europe predict increased bad debt losses, later B2B payments and higher debt risks are ahead, according to the European Payment Report from pan-European credit management firm Intrum.

Figures from the report:

  • UK companies wrote off 3.0% of their revenue because of bad debt losses in 2018, up from 2.0% in 2017 – but lower than 2016’s reported 4.7%.
  • UK businesses offer more generous payment terms than most European countries to corporate customers and consumers (45 days and 25 days respectively, compared with European averages of 34 days and 21 days).
  • Almost a third (32%) of UK businesses using international payments said currency issues are negatively affecting them.

Across Europe, the 2019 report shows an increase in bad debt losses, following several years of declining write-offs. Almost one-fifth (18%) believe their country is already in an economic down-turn. In the UK, 17% felt there was already a downturn and more than half (54%) believe there will be one within the next two years.

In the UK companies wrote off 3.0% of their revenue because of bad debt losses for the year 2018, up from 2.0% the previous year – but lower than the 4.7% reported in the 2017 report.

However, businesses said they are still being asked to accept longer payment terms than they are comfortable with. In the survey, 22% said they had been asked by a large/ multinational corporation to accept longer terms than they wanted, 24% by a small or medium-sized business and 10% by the public sector. These figures were lower than in Europe as a whole, where the averages were 27%, 39% and 13% respectively.

While the 11,856 businesses surveyed around Europe overall showed a pattern of slightly increased risks related to payments and debt, the view of where a country finds itself in the current business cycle varies substantially between regions.

In countries such as Greece and Italy, businesses see the recession as a current reality, while most companies in Austria and Germany do not even foresee a recession in the coming five years.

In the UK, businesses that are expecting recession plan to cut costs (35%) and be more cautious about taking on debt (30%). Only 20% plan to increase their sales operations to manage a potential downturn, while 32% plan to take measures to secure payments from customers. One fifth (20%) of those who see or foresee a recession do not plan to take any measures.

Meanwhile, international payments account for 10.4% of payments. British businesses reported that customer payment methods (30%), local payment cultures (28%) and currency issues (32%) are having a negative impact on these.

The ability to predict cashflow is key to all businesses, as financial stability is the foundation for growth,” said Eddie Nott, Managing Director for Intrum UK and Ireland. “Increasingly, UK businesses are seeking more ethical ways in engage with their customers in debt and this approach will be the bedrock of collections in future.”

He added: “While British businesses are more generous in their payment terms than many in Europe, they are having to accept longer payment terms than they are comfortable with. With bad debt edging up in the latest survey, it is important that government and business continue to tackle the issue of late payment.

Cabot continues to keep the customer at the heart of its business

Cabot Credit Management, one of the largest credit management service providers in Europe, is working closely with The Domestic and Economic Abuse Project (DEAP) set up by Money Advice Plus and Surviving Economic Abuse charities, to strengthen its understanding of its customers who are victims of domestic and economic abuse.

DEAP aims to build the capacity of organisations that are in contact with victim-survivors to respond effectively. It replicates – at the local level – work undertaken by Money Advice Plus to integrate the physical safety and support needs of domestic abuse victim-survivors when giving debt/money advice.

A key team from Cabot attended a course run by DEAP covering all aspects of domestic and economic abuse and it highlighted what signs to look for when you are dealing with a customer affected in this way. This knowledge was then cascaded through the business through various means such as training alerts and seminars.

Derek Usher, Managing Director, UK Debt Purchase, Cabot Financial, said: “We are always looking at ways to continually improve and enhance the way we work with our customers to ensure they are treated fairly. This project has been a real success and enabled our employees to further understand the difficult circumstances that some of our customers are experiencing.

Karen Perrier, Client Service Manager, Money Advice Plus and Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, Director, Surviving Economic Abuse said: “Cabot Credit Management is in a unique position to identify and support victims of domestic and economic abuse through its work. We are delighted that it plans to draw on the training we provided via the Domestic and Economic Project to improve the way it is able to respond to customers. The team was really receptive to the knowledge we shared and we look forward to working with Cabot going forward.”

Surviving Economic Abuse defines economic abuse as involving behaviours (control, exploitation and sabotage) that interfere with a partner’s ability to acquire, use and maintain economic resources. In the context of domestic violence, it commonly takes place alongside physical, sexual and psychological abuse.

Reactive comment from Huntswood: Buy Now Pay Later FCA announcement

In light of this morning’s FCA announcement confirming it will introduce new rules in the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) market, saving consumers around £40-60 million a year, Sean Kulan, Consumer Credit Sector Lead, Huntswood said: “These measures by the FCA should be welcomed and are part of its broader focus on protecting consumers within the consumer credit marketplace. The ability of firms to charge backdated interest has been a particular bone of contention, with many customers unaware of the ability of firms to retrospectively apply such charges against the entirety of the credit line. The regulator will now be ensuring that firms are implementing the changes and that they are being properly applied.

“Regulatory compliance is clearly a priority, so lenders should be checking that they have appropriate consumer safeguarding measures in place, while also revaluating their internal policies and procedures to ensure transparency. Taking these necessary steps will protect consumers, particularly those that are most vulnerable.”

StepChange response to FCA’s “Buy Now, Pay Later” rule changes

The Financial Conduct Authority has today confirmed its new requirements in reform of “Buy Now, Pay Later” (BNPL) credit offers.

The measures will require retailers to present buy now, pay later offers in a clear and balanced way, give people adequate explanations of the costs and potential negative consequences, and prompt people when the 0% interest period is due to expire to give them chance to repay the balance in full before interest is charged.

Buy now, pay later services are widespread, and are a factor driving both store card and catalogue debts. Around 12% and 34% of StepChange clients have these types of debts respectively.

Peter Tutton, Head of Policy at StepChange Debt Charity, says: “The FCA’s changes are modest but welcome, though whether they will fully achieve the objective we would like to see that credit should always be “bought rather than sold” remains questionable. When people’s eyes are on the goods they want to buy, and the credit is being offered through the retailer, it is particularly important that the nature of the credit product being dangled as the means to the desired end is made unequivocally clear.

“It is positive to see the FCA banning the practice of backdating interest on any element of borrowing repaid within the borrower’s 0% interest period. Looking ahead, we would hope to see the FCA take a closer look at the ongoing use of discounts and incentives. We would like the FCA to continue to scrutinise the evidence of consumer harm in this area and ensure consumers are protected against poor practice.”