Our product and engineering teams have been busy these summer and back-to-school months. We got ready for the new SEPA rulebooks and expanded our bank coverage, added capabilities that significantly ease the management of direct debits, and delivered new critical features for both finance and operations and product and development teams.
The European Payment Council is implementing updated specifications for all SEPA payment schemes on 17 March 2024 (formerly 19 November 2023: see update below). These changes represent significant projects for SEPA participants to upgrade their payment systems to comply with the new specifications.
The main change is the structuration of address information in payment messages, information which is mandatory to provide for SEPA payments from or to SEPA countries that are not part of the European Economic Area. In addition to aligning with the latest versions of ISO 20022 standard for payment messages, structured addresses will further reduce errors in payment processing and improve regulatory screening and reconciliation.
Other changes include updates of technical tags used in SEPA messages and the introduction of a “proxy” attribute. It is an identifier that can be attached to a payment message, such as a phone number, a Twitter handle or an email address. Using this proxy name instead could theoretically allow account-to-account SEPA payments without needing an IBAN.
Once developed, these upgrades have to be certified by SEPA sponsor banks, which can represent a multi-week project in itself.
Numeral is proud to be the first company to have completed EPC 2023 rulebook certification with its indirect participant customers and partner sponsor banks for all payment schemes on 14 September 2023.
We intend to keep abstracting the complexity of payment scheme changes for our customers for all supported payment schemes and partner banks, saving them months of development and certification projects.
The EPC has postponed the implementation of its rulebook to 17 March 2024 because major actors of the payment system were not ready for the migration.
This postponement has no impact on our customers. We will roll out the changes required for this migration on 17 March 2024 instead of 19 November 2023.
When done right, direct debits are a powerful tool for collecting recurring payments. But doing it right is complex. Direct debits can fail for many reasons, from the debtor account being blocked or closed to the use of incorrect debtor information. Failing direct debits can have significant consequences for companies, including major additional bank fees and uncollected payments.
We aim to enable customers to leverage direct debits’ advantages and reduce their time to liquidity with any bank reliably.
We’re starting with the ability for non-technical teams to view and manage direct debit mandates directly in the Numeral dashboard.
Thanks to easy access to mandate information, including related counterparties, direct debits, and events, finance and operations teams can make sure all incoming and outgoing direct debits linked to a mandate are legitimate and take action if not.
Actions include the ability to block a mandate, preventing any further direct debit related to the said mandate. With SEPA direct debit core, the beneficiary bank doesn’t systematically check if an incoming direct debit respects an existing mandate or not, leading to the risk of illegitimate direct debits. Numeral customers can block counterparties, automatically rejecting any incoming direct debit request from said counterparties.
We also added capabilities facilitating the management of outgoing direct debits. Customers can now schedule a direct debit payment at a further date when creating it in Numeral.
Additional capabilities simplifying the management of the entire lifecycle of direct debits, from mandate creation to automatic direct debit retries, will follow this quarter and beyond.
Finance and operations teams can now create new counterparty accounts directly from the dashboard, enabling them to run tests, resolve customer support requests or add counterparty accounts for internal use without technical help.
Following the introduction of roles and permissions to decrease the risk of unauthorised actions on bank accounts connected through the platform, we released audit trails in the dashboard.
With audit trails, authorised users can have a full understanding of the sequence of events and which users performed them when investigating errors or suspicious or unauthorised actions and take actions in consequence.
Audit trails are available for all objects of the Numeral platform.
We introduced the ability to retry sending failed events directly from the dashboard. It enables product and engineering teams to easily update relevant systems or test their webhook implementation, even in the case of an event that fails.
Payments can fail for various reasons: banks’ cash management system being unavailable, payment blocked by the beneficiary bank, or beneficiary bank not supporting instant payments. In many cases, simply retrying the same payment immediately or at a later time or changing its type can result in a successful payment.
However, developing the logic to keep track of failed payments and creating new payment orders to retry these payments can be complex. That’s why we did it for our customers.
With the new Retry a payment order API endpoint, developers can automatically retry a failed payment as is or:
By sending it from another connected account
With another type, for instance, a SEPA direct credit instead of a SEPA instant direct credit
At a later date
We have a busy roadmap for the months to come. Subscribe to our newsletter to get our latest updates, and contact us if you have specific payment needs you are looking to solve.
Find more updates in our 2023 Spring changelog.