Quickly built and reliable solution for SEPA Instant Payments Tiit, Aivar, 22 May 2019
Planning to offer your customers the benefits of SEPA Instant Payments, but being short of time or missing the team to deal with all the technical hassle? We might be the perfect match!
We recently implemented SEPA Instant Payments solution for Coop Pank, which was in a similar situation.
The bank had performed a thorough analysis:
- SWIFT gpi or SEPA Instant payment?
Although SWIFT gpi may eventually be cheaper, all the main Estonian banks had joined SEPA. Coop Pank decided to follow;
- To buy the functionality as a “package” or just build what is needed for enabling instant payments?
Various “full package” solution providers had been presenting to the bank, however none of them offered only a single feature what was actually needed - instant payments;
- All implementation and operating costs were considered.
Their considered decision was to hire us to develop gateway software, which would integrate the RT1 system by EBA CLEARING with the bank’s core.
As we had just finished building a new loan system for them the bank had a strong belief that we would be able to crack another challenge.
Cracking the challenge
Having had a very tight time schedule, we were still able to stick to the original timeframe. There are only a few time windows a year when new banks can join the RT1 system. Initially it seemed nothing special.
Turned out that 20+ banks were planning to join within the same window. However, more than half of the banks failed to finish implementing the instant payment on time. Including 3 banks that should have been our testing partners.
One of the reasons behind the problem was the complexity of the protocol RT1 is using for instant payments - EBICS. Being developed in the beginning of the 90s, it has many features that are no longer necessary nowadays. For instance - all the messages transmitted between the server and the client must be sliced into 1MB chunks.
Although the EBICS protocol and integration with RT1 are thoroughly documented, both of them have many gaps and do not sufficiently describe all the details and features. This was a real problem when it came to cryptography, digital signing and some of the messages transmitted between the client and the server. Even folks at RT1 were not always able to answer questions like “which cryptography algorithm and parameters are used to encrypt the messages” or “why a message was rejected by their side”.
Despite all the problems and difficulties, Coop Pank was able to release instant payment feature for their customers on time and in the original time window. It had been taken only 3 months to implement all the necessary features for the gateway software. Now their customers are able to transfer their Euros in seconds and 24/7.