As part of the ongoing race to digitize operations - and succeed in an increasingly competitive environment - Canada’s major companies are eyeing ways to manage their cash positions most effectively, including new technologies to help treasury teams send, collect and track payments more efficiently than ever.
To stand at the fore of this change, Scotiabank has launched an array of cash management and payments APIs that enable business banking clients to quickly embed the Bank’s payment services into their own business processes and platforms. By doing so, they can gain immediate access to real-time payment services and account information, unlock new operational efficiencies, and potentially transform their business models.
“As we continue to modernize our payments platform, we recognize how critical it is for our clients to have access to the digital tools they need to support their own digital transformations. We are introducing this platform to meet our clients in the digital arenas where they conduct business. As our clients’ trusted adviser on modernized payment solutions, we are helping them accelerate their pace of digital transformation, create efficiencies in their cash management activities, and compete in the digital domains that mean the most to their businesses.” explains Dougal Middleton, Vice President, Enterprise Payments - Payments Modernization.
Enabling a digital treasury
APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) enable clients to integrate the Bank’s innovative payment services directly into their treasury work stations or enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms.
“Since many of our corporate clients rely heavily on their treasury workstations or ERPs, they are seeking frictionless experiences to facilitate their day-to-day treasury needs. By integrating their applications with our APIs, they can view and access the Bank’s payment services directly through their own portals,” explains Sid Arora, Director, Enterprise Payments Services at Scotiabank.
“Our clients,” says Arora, “are ‘going digital’ to gain a competitive advantage in their space and to create new experiences for their own clients. Our role, as a bank, is to help them enable that digital operating model, whether that’s a digital accounts payable process, an entire digital treasury, or an innovative new way to support their clients.”
Just in-time, real-time APIs
To help clients meet the demands of digitally-enabled business models, Scotiabank’s Global Business Payments team has developed new services that seamlessly connect with their clients’ various internal processes.
Based on the priorities of today’s business banking clients, the team introduced a Real-time Payments API. This service offers access to Interac e-Transfer† for Business, which enables a company to make payments of up to $25,000, using the payment recipient’s account number or email address. With the API, large issuers of payments can do so from their own platforms, in a scalable manner.
“For companies that want to remove their dependency on cut-off times - and take advantage of the immediacy offered by real-time payments - this API provides a payment initiation interface that can help deliver payments to beneficiaries in seconds,” explains Arora.
For example, this API can transform the insurance claims payout process for Insurers that seeks to improve its payouts for claims in emergency scenarios. After adjudicating a claim, many insurance companies pay beneficiaries by cheque or Direct Deposit (EFT.) These payment methods can take days for the beneficiary to receive funds, following the adjudication process. In contrast, Scotiabank’s Real-Time Payments API can provide immediate funds disbursement to complement a modernized, rapid claim adjudication process.
Similarly, Scotiabank’s new Account Validation API enable efficiencies for a company that uses its clients’ bank account information to disburse payments. This API can reduce exception handling and overhead caused by incorrect account information. By using this API to help verify beneficiaries’ account numbers, companies achieve greater accuracy when making direct payments.
Meanwhile, on the receivables side, Scotiabank’s new Request for Payment API is ideal for companies that seek more transparent, flexible, and customer-friendly payment collection processes. By providing access to the Interac e-Transfer Request Money service via an API, a company can initiate a payment request to their client, who is notified via an email that provides the details on the invoice. The client can immediately take action on the request and make the payment directly from their bank account. Scotiabank will continue to invest in the ongoing digitization of cash and treasury management services to meet the increasingly digital needs of business banking clients.
Developing client-centric, Payment-as-a-Service options
Each of the APIs launched to date reflects Scotiabank’s commitment to bring innovative, modernized services to clients. “We’re enabling modernized opportunities through our digital transformation of payment services, and we’re partnering with our clients to make these services a reality,” says Arora, adding that Scotiabank’s approach has been to work directly with clients to identify their payments challenges and apply solutions that solve client centric problems. “We listen to our clients about their customer journeys, from bill payments to funds movement to payroll, and we focus on developing standardized APIs that respond to those needs.”
Further development of Scotiabank APIs will provide more opportunities for clients to enhance digital service delivery or gain internal efficiencies. Scotiabank plans to introduce Account Balances and Transactions APIs which will benefit companies that want better visibility into their account information. This API will provide account information that can be pulled into an ERP on-demand, to streamline cash forecasting and analysis.
In terms of smooth implementation, Arora explains, “Our services are developed to global standards. We design everything to be ‘plug-and-play,’ so companies can readily integrate our API into their workflow. That’s proving valuable to global companies that already use banking APIs in other countries.”
For other companies that are just discovering these API options, Arora acknowledges that they may require some upfront action to update their internal systems, but the effort is well worth it: “You are not only digitizing your corporate treasury, but you are also ‘future-proofing’ your company technology, so you can explore new business models, overcome past business paradigms and potentially bring new innovation to your clients.”
“Ultimately, we’re introducing a platform of services and our clients can pick and choose which services they want, plug them in, and drive value from them,” says Arora. “Our vision is to be our client’s trusted advisor on modernized payment solutions, so they can accelerate payment processing, drive efficiencies in treasury management, and digitally transform the way they do business.”
To learn more about Scotiabank’s APIs, explore our Developer Portal and register now.