Switching to camt: the next step after SEPA

ECB

Demand is growing in the corporate world for faster and more standardised banking formats – leading to the increasing popularity of Cash Management (camt).

Although not (yet) compulsory, camt is enjoying enthusiastic uptake from financial institutions keen to meet client demand for straight-through processing (STP). STP allows information entered electronically to be automatically forwarded through the payment chain to the final recipient, without this information having to be manually re-entered at every step.

Across Europe, banks have already had to make progress in this direction through the obligatory roll-out of SEPA. As of 1st February this year, national payment formats for credit transfers and direct debits have been replaced with standardised ISO 20022 XML SEPA formats. However, when it comes to reconciling accounts, localised formats are not always compatible. This leads to high costs and inefficiencies for globalised companies trying to move their money around.

Camt addresses this issue by taking ISO 20022 formats a step further. It contains all the information needed for corporate reconciliation management, provides more detailed and structured information, and improves compatibility – all of which is geared towards greater harmonisation of the market. It also meets the international standard for XML and, in 2009, the European Central Bank (ECB) published a recommendation for enhancing STP by using camt bank-to-customer messages.

Perhaps most compellingly, German banks must already offer camt on the request of their clients and many believe that it will soon become the norm, if not obligatory, elsewhere. For financial and banking institutions that have already invested in bringing their organisation in line with SEPA regulations, a voluntary switch to more effective camt solutions could not only improve their current processes, but save regulatory headaches further down the line.

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