Bank independent payment platforms, ING and Cobase the new kid on the block?
With layman’s eye I follow what is happening in treasury and technology and am intrigued by the entrance of Cobase, owned by ING, in the market for bank independent payment platforms. This is not a new market with competitors like TIS, Serrala (formerly known as Hanse Orga) and PowertoPay.
If I understand the concept well, these platforms were build to make life easier for treasurers and other financials. The idea is to connect many bank accounts from different banks in one system, and this system into the company’s ERP. The system enables outgoing payments entered in the format of the ERP system, no adjustments needed, with one token to authorize. This way one can avoid using all the various authentication methods and payment formats different banks force upon users. Incoming payments through these platforms can streamline reconciliation. Security, clear information and efficiency are obvious advantages.
MNCs often work with many banks because there are only a few (some say no) banks that offer global coverage. Also many companies do not want to rely on the services of only one bank. Ending and starting cash management relations with banks is easier with an independent payment platform: a plug and play system creates a stronger negotiation position. So cost saving can be possible.
Now Cobase, fully owned by ING, enters the described market. Exciting news, but also a bit puzzling:
• Will clients, that already use a platform, switch to Cobase and put all their banking eggs in the ING basket?
• Will other banks, competitors of ING, be willing to cooperate in building the Cobase solution?
• If ING, or a competitor is present in (most of) the countries a company works in and this company is willing to work with only one bank, why use Cobase?
• And is Cobase planning to extend its services to other Treasury Management Software solution, thus entering the market of Kyriba, Bellin, IT2 and others?
From the side-line I will follow what will happen. I look forward to seeing your input. What do I overlook? I will keep you up-to-date,
Pieter de Kiewit