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PSD2: the death of MT940s?

The end of European treasurers submitting daily MT940s may be near, with the dawn of the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) due to be implemented next year.

Under PSD2 regulation, banks will be obligated to allow third parties to collect bank account data on behalf of treasurers (with permission), which is expected to be done via APIs.

“No one is offering [this service for free] today because the banks have effectively got a monopoly over this information,” James Higgins, Product Director at AccessPay, told GTNews at an AccessPay roundtable titled PSD2 and Open Banking: big threat or big opportunity?

“The banks are the only ones with the information, so they are able to charge for MT940 submissions. There was previously no incentive to break with that model. This should drive down costs for the corporate.”

Karen Fagan, ITV treasury operations manager, says she struggles to get the information required for MT940s from ITV’s German subsidiary, as data protection laws are tighter in Germany than in the UK.

“Our German subsidiary can’t send us an MT940 because it includes personal data on their employees and vendors. The banks can’t send us anything else, they can’t send us a MT941 either. Perhaps the solution is an API which can give us the account balances and nothing else.”

The reason this hasn’t been done so far is purely due to regulatory barriers, says Anish Kapoor, CEO of AccessPay.

However, it is likely that third-parties collecting MT940 data will not be delivered succinctly when the regulation first becomes effective in 2018, warns Higgins:

“We will see different information provided through different channels at first. It will be delivered in batch processes. I expect it will be a little bit mix and match for quite a while until PSD2 regulation settles down.”

An MT940 is an end of day statement that corporates are required to send to their banks detailing all business bank accounts.

This article appeared in The Global Treasurer on 11th January 2018.

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