Ours is a digital world. Smart devices are now ubiquitous, to the point where getting in the car and driving to a brick-and-mortar store is becoming something people used to do. For online shopping it’s not so much a matter of people being able to buy items online but preferring to do so. With this change has come a huge shift in how people buy things.

Coin money has been around for thousands of years, paper money for hundreds. With money, people have had a convenient way to pay for goods and services in real time. Even with the appearance of cheques and credit cards, physical cash remained the standard, go-to payment method for both people “on the grid” and those who wish to conduct the bulk of their daily affairs out of the taxman’s sight.

However, cash is miles away from being a perfect payment medium. Among its shortcomings: it takes up space; it needs to be printed (and paper money replaced); and it can be stolen or faked. Cash involves costs like cheque-cashing and ATM fees, and is far from free for governments to support and maintain.

New methods

Digital, at least as far as financial transactions is concerned, has taken time to catch on with people. In its earlier days, many were dubious as to how safe it was to do anything financial online. In most cases, the worry was around having banking information intercepted.

In the past few years there has been significant movement on this front, and today the majority of people are reasonably comfortable doing their banking and shopping online. Digital transactions are fast. Web interfaces are smooth, transactions are reasonably pain-free, and money can be shifted with a simple click.

New challenges

But digital transactions are not seamless. Far from it. For example, nearly everyone who regularly transfers funds online has received messages like this one:

“Your payment will be processed within the next business day.”

Waiting one, two or more business days for a simple bill payment to be processed has become a sort of crime in today’s 24/7 hyperconnected, everything-at-lightning-speed world. Consumers, merchants, and financial institutions expect to be able to send or receive funds instantly — it’s just the way things are now.

New questions

While the concept of instant payment is not new, the proliferation of real-time payment options has given rise to high expectations among consumers. This is true even in Canada, where there has always been something of a lag. This new standard, which is really a “new normal,” has companies now asking themselves:

  1. Are we ready to make the shift to real-time payments?
  2. Do we have a clear plan for making this shift?

New webinar

From 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm ET on June 6, 2018, IT World Canada CIO & CDO Jim Love will be joined by special guests Rob Matys, Associate Partner, Payment Solutions, and Andrew Higgins, Leader, IBM Payments Centre – Canada, in a discussion around the challenges of building Real Time Rail (RTR) payment capabilities in Canada, including fraud and considerations for leveraging cloud technology to support RTR’s non-functional requirements.

In this session, Love and guests will attempt to address key questions such as:

  • What does it take to make RT payments work in the cloud?
  • What are the issues and challenges?
  • What key questions should you be asking your people?
  • What are the possible repercussions of not making the shift fast enough?


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