Real-Time Payments Capability Is Deciding Factor When Businesses Choose a Bank

Citizens survey results underscore competitive advantage, importance of faster payments

PROVIDENCE, R.I.--()--Eighty-five percent of business leaders say the most important factor when choosing a banking partner is whether the financial institution offers real-time payments (RTP) capabilities, according to Citizens’ annual payments and treasury survey.

In the nationwide survey of 260 corporate decision-makers, the ability to offer RTP, the new standard in U.S. billing and payment processing, topped the list of requirements for the first time and was considered more important than the ability to provide the lowest-cost financing. A bank’s expertise in the business’ industry also ranked highly.

RTP is the biggest upgrade to the U.S. payments system since the Automated Clearing House (ACH) in 1974. Customers using the RTP network can make payments electronically and the funds instantaneously move from one account to another. Information about the transaction also travels with the funds, so recipients know where the money is coming from and why.

When respondents were asked to name the ways in which they anticipated using RTP, the two most commonly cited applications were to manage cash flow more accurately and to handle payments requiring immediate attention.

“I continue to be encouraged by the growing interest in real-time payments because it offers such enormous benefits to businesses in terms of speed and certainty of payments,” said Matt Richardson, head of treasury product solutions at Citizens. “As businesses bounce back from the pandemic, they are adopting digital solutions that they may have tried out of necessity for the first time during the lockdowns.”

Seventy-three percent of survey respondents also expressed interest in having a secure mobile-optimized treasury management platform. Of those who use treasury management platforms as part of their day-to-day work, nearly four in 10 expressed frustration with their current technology solution and felt that the majority of their time spent working with their treasury management platform could be more productive.

Fifty-nine percent added that if they could get back any "wasted" time during the week, they would spend it focusing on business strategy or leveraging that time to enjoy a better work-life balance.

Other key survey findings include:

  • When asked about the benefits of RTP generally, 81% said they believe RTP would be very or somewhat transformative to their firm’s payments process, if adopted.
  • Eighty-three percent of respondents expect their bank to leverage the latest technological tools to help their business compete.
  • The same percentage of respondents also expect their bank to provide their business with more self-service capabilities where needed.
  • Security continues to be the most-noted area that respondents felt should be improved or added to their current treasury management platform.

“The survey findings validate our decision to be one of the first banks to offer RTP to clients,” Richardson continued. “We have also added intelligent automaton solutions such as Receivables Automation and Invoice Automation so clients have more time to focus on business strategy. We will continue to bring innovative solutions to our clients, many of whom are embracing the move to digital.”

The survey of corporate decision-makers sampled a range of businesses in different sectors with annual revenue of $1 million to $25 million (37%); $25 million to $100 million (17%); and more than $100 million (46%). It was conducted between Oct. 22 and Nov. 4, 2021.

Citizens is a trusted strategic and financial adviser, consistently delivering clear and objective advice. The Citizens approach puts clients first by offering great ideas combined with thorough market knowledge and excellent execution, to help our clients enhance their business and reach their potential. For more information about Citizens or the accessOPTIMA® treasury management platform, please visit the Citizens website.

About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.

Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, with $188.4 billion in assets as of December 31, 2021. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, large corporations and institutions. Citizens helps its customers reach their potential by listening to them and by understanding their needs in order to offer tailored advice, ideas and solutions. In Consumer Banking, Citizens provides an integrated experience that includes mobile and online banking, a 24/7 customer contact center and the convenience of approximately 3,000 ATMs and approximately 940 branches in 11 states in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions. Consumer Banking products and services include a full range of banking, lending, savings, wealth management and small business offerings. In Commercial Banking, Citizens offers a broad complement of financial products and solutions, including lending and leasing, deposit and treasury management services, foreign exchange, interest rate and commodity risk management solutions, as well as loan syndication, corporate finance, merger and acquisition, and debt and equity capital markets capabilities. More information is available at or visit us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.


Frank Quaratiello


Frank Quaratiello