API solution represents a golden opportunity to improve operations.
Precious metals markets can move quickly and the prices of commodities such as gold, silver, platinum and palladium are constantly fluctuating. When it comes to buying and selling bullion, the speed and accuracy of payment information is crucial in facilitating business and providing investors with peace of mind.
Lloyds Bank has been supporting BullionVault, the world’s largest online bullion investment service and a three-time winner of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, by enabling fast, highly accurate payment notifications.
Established in 2005, online trading service BullionVault offers private investors access to the professional wholesale bullion markets. The platform enables customers to send funds to their BullionVault account, which are then used on live peer-to-peer markets to buy individual grams of vaulted bullion at wholesale prices. Customers can also sell their bullion through the platform and withdraw the funds from their account.
Trading in a fast-paced environment can cause challenges when it comes to payments, explains BullionVault’s Product and Operations Director, Johnny Stewart. “Bullion markets can move very quickly and our users are sensitive to how long it takes for a deposit to reach their BullionVault account,” he says. The team at BullionVault found that the fact that they had no way to be notified when funds arrived in their account was slowing both them, and their customers, down.
This lack of notification required BullionVault to download files from their online banking service and import them into their own system several times a day, which not only prompted uncertainty among their customers as to the progress of their transactions, but also caused a drain on the team’s resources. The information they were able to download sometimes also lacked some identifiable information about the source bank account, which could potentially cause complications and further delays.
BullionVault spoke about these issues with their Lloyds Bank Cash Management and Payment specialist, who recommended one of the bank’s API (Application Programming Interface) solutions. Our APIs connect one piece of software with another over the internet, improving the speed and accuracy of banking processes. “We have regular catch ups with our Relationship Manager,” says Johnny. “We discuss problems, things that are in progress, and pain points, and they will either suggest things, or see what they can find to help.”
Specifically, BullionVault implemented the Event Driven Notification API solution, enabling them to receive real-time notifications of payment activities within accounts, facilitating faster payments and providing the user with all the information they need to automatically reconcile the transaction without the need for manual intervention. “In a fast-paced and demanding world, the speed and accuracy of information is crucial,” explains Matt Milton, Director of Cash Management and Payment Solutions at Lloyds Bank. “Providing BullionVault with real-time transactional details makes reconciliation more efficient and allows their customers to invest much faster.”
The API meant that the BullionVault team were no longer reliant on downloading payment information files on a regular basis. Now, they are notified as soon as the money enters the account, enabling them to make the funds available to their customers with speed*. “It surpasses a lot of people’s expectations in that they can get the cash instantly – it gives people confidence,” says Johnny.
Primarily, this helped the firm to ensure that there are no delays in buying and selling bullion on behalf of their customers, resulting in a richer and more streamlined customer experience. “From a customer point of view, it’s fantastic – particularly with Faster Payments,” explains Johnny.
The solution also eradicated the uncertainty that used to accompany the delay in notification. “It’s just made things smoother,” says Johnny. “There’s not the delay of things perhaps being in limbo or in a state of uncertainty until we get information. We can act with greater confidence knowing that we’ve got the information here and now.”
This confidence also translates into reassurance for their clients, since it’s now possible to assign funds instantly as a result of being notified immediately. “We used to have customers calling us up straight away chasing their money as soon as they made the transaction. Whereas now, since we can assign their funds straight away, we’re avoiding that concern on their side, and we’re avoiding a call to our client services team,” he says.
The Event Driven Notifications solution is part of the Embedded Payments suite of products and services, which also includes our PayMe®, PayTo, PayFrom Bank and Confirmation of Payee solutions. All of these solutions support businesses by accelerating payment processes, simplifying operations, and enabling 24/7 transactions in an automated environment. Our team can work with you to create a bespoke integrated solution, based on your requirements and the challenges you face. “I knew it would be useful,” says Johnny. “But actually having felt the impact it’s had, I’ve been surprised by the benefit.”
Speak to your Cash Management & Payments Team to find out more.
*A Faster Payments outgoing can take up to two hours for completion.
Any views, opinions or forecasts expressed in this document represent views or opinions of forum participants and are not intended to be, and should not be viewed as advice or a recommendation from Lloyds Bank or any other party.
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