Quick payment system or the impossible is possible

    In just 3 months, we launched a quick payment system (SBP) translation service, while other participating banks worked on the project for more than six months. How did we do it? We talk about our experience and the power of SCRUM, matrix management and corporate culture.

    SBP service for instantly and inexpensively transferring money between customers of different banks by phone number. The Association of Fintech (AFT), the Central Bank and the National Payment Card System (NSPK) began to prepare the pilot project of SBP in April 2018, several member banks of the association became participants in the pilot.

    Promsvyazbank at the end of July 2018 received an invitation from AFT to participate in the project to launch the Quick Payment System, and joined the initiative only after the availability of resources - at the end of October. Therefore, it so happened that when all the other banks have already passed certification testing, we just started developing. However, this did not stop us by January 28, 2019, together with other participants in the pilot, from starting the SBP for a limited number of users. And on February 28, the quick payment service became available to all customers of the bank.

    It turns out that in three months we did the full amount of work, which others took more than six months. Colleagues from other banks did not believe that we would be on time, and they can be understood.

    Mountain of tasks

    Joining the service included a huge amount of work. First of all, it is the development of a new service: setting up and debugging the connection to the API of the NSPK, interaction with the Central Bank (new ED formats for sending and receiving messages), UX research of the client path, setting up a new operation in the Internet and mobile banking, encryption, using a certain type SKZI (Signature or "Amber"). In parallel with this, it was necessary to coordinate with internal services, such as Rosfinmonitoring, risks, the legal department, the operations department, and others. All improvements to the user interface and client path were subject to approval by the NSPK.

    One of the most difficult moments was working with coding, namely encryption. I had to understand the intricacies of Signature and ensure trouble-free signing of documents. It was also not easy to reduce the processing time of payments by the bank in order to meet the three-second lag before the timeout upon request from the NSPK. In fact, it turned out a system that works in real time.

    When the development was completed, it was necessary to conduct certification testing with the Central Bank and the NSPK. Then - sign legal documents related to joining the SBP Rules, changing the conditions of the contract box. accounts with the Central Bank, obtaining test protocols from the NSPK and the Central Bank. And with a dozen unobvious, but important little things: the appointment of security officers, obtaining military security keys for certificates, preparing tariffs, preparing for releases, cleaning out bugs.

    Three reasons to be in time

    Why did we do everything to get into the first wave? There were three reasons.

    The first is the leadership prospects that open up through a quick payment system. In such a situation, it is better not to catch up, but to run ahead of everyone and keep up with industry leaders.

    The second is business benefits. Now, when making payments through the RCC, the cost of ruble payments is from 8 to 18 rubles. As part of the SBP, by the end of 2019, correspondent account payments will be free, and from January 1, 2020, they will cost a maximum of 3 rubles. The benefits of card payments are even more substantial. The average cost of P2P transfers through payment systems is somewhere around 0.42% of the amount, here the use of SPB is very beneficial for the bank, and therefore for customers.

    The third reason is the opportunity to improve the lives of bank customers, to allow payments by the most simple payment identifier today - a phone number. This is only 7 digits, plus the number is always at hand in the contact list on the smartphone. Increasing customer loyalty is a good reason to accelerate.

    From the very beginning of the project, everyone liked the idea of ​​launching a new service, but there were also concerns, since there were no answers to some questions related to accounting, risks, new technology, lack of servers, etc. At a meeting of the retail business committee, where all departments were present On which the further coordination of the project depended, we told why participation in the SBP is so important and what benefits it will bring to the bank. We were heard, supported, and the project ran.


    The team at the start was assembled, as it seemed to us, with all the necessary competencies to make the project as a whole. However, during the development process, we realized that there were not enough competencies and we had to attract additional resources in order to manage to launch the project participants together with other banks. The core of the project was a very small team, which included 3 representatives from the business, three specialists for the development of New Athena software (technologist, developer and tester) and one product development team: front-programmers (iOS, Android and web), two back-programmers (one did a crypto service and an operation of crediting, the other service and an operation of debiting), designer, analyst, testing engineer, SCRUM-master and Product-owner.

    The product development team worked on two-week sprints, plus meetings were held every day at which, based on what was not possible to do, future plans were adjusted. Once every two weeks, any interested employees, including our top management, could take part in the reviews. Basically, in order to share experience, your opinion, give feedback. To solve the difficulties encountered during the project, their involvement was not required.

    Everyone we contacted at the bank: legal service, risks, accounting, NIB - understood that this was an important task, and went towards it. From the units with which we had to coordinate our actions in the process, we received timely feedback to make adjustments to the process. Promsvyazbank employees proved themselves to be a well-coordinated team.

    Interaction with departments

    Most importantly, we did not put off the bureaucracy at the last moment, everything went in parallel. We had a roadmap for all coordination tasks, the entire team participated in their refinement and solution. Everyone said what tasks need to be solved in the first place, so that the next stage starts. A scan was made from the opposite, and everyone understood what exactly he should do next.

    In the classical bureaucratic system, how: sent a document for approval, threw the ball to the other side, and that’s all, it’s not your responsibility when and how they will answer there. This is not so with us. The man threw the ball - responsibility is still on him. And he will call once again, write, do everything so that the process goes. It is necessary to communicate, once again to speak out loud about your needs, and everything will be done as needed and on time.

    Project management

    Not all tasks lay in the competence of the product team. As often happens in large credit organizations and in the implementation of large projects, a lot of departments were involved in the process. Only with the help of one SCRUM team it was impossible to solve the problem in such a short time. We parallelized the processes of related departments (finalizing tariffs, developing a crypto service, New Athena software, finalizing interaction with the Central Bank according to the current account, rules, etc.) and a product team (developing new operations in the Internet and mobile banking, developing a service, etc. )

    It was not easy for us, the ability to negotiate within the entire project team became the main driving force and not to conduct heated debates about ideology and project methodology. It was impossible to work in isolation, since all questions went in parallel, we were looking for a compromise.

    For example, a business works out tariffs and brings them to developers. They estimate the costs of implementing the logic and offer options, due to which it would be possible to significantly reduce development time. The business takes their ideas into development and offers another charging option, which requires less time for coding. The team in the first place in the list of priorities was the deadline, everything was adjusted to them.

    That is, in total, we had fixed deadlines, project management passed through a small feedback loop, did sprints for 2 weeks, received feedback and quickly made changes. This allowed to maximize discard all unnecessary and start the project.

    The ability of a business team to work with an IT team has become one of our main secrets. Yes, in order to meet the deadline, we had to work hard. In the active phase, the guys worked 10 hours a day, in the last days before the release, some went on weekends. Adrenaline and excitement went wild.

    And so, on January 28, we went on sale to a limited number of customers, worked out all the technical errors that arose, which we managed to catch. The process was hard, as it was testing transfers between banks, and sometimes either something fell off from the other side, or there were problems with ours. Nevertheless, by February 28th we had come running in full combat readiness. We are one of four banks that launched the service in full for all customers in all channels.

    SBP now

    Now the service of quick payments by phone number is available to all Promsvyazbank customers. We have previously implemented transfers within the bank by phone number. And in fact, we added a new branch to the interface, a choice, to transfer to the PSB client or to the client of another bank by phone number. Now there is a limit of 150 thousand rubles per transfer. Until May 31, these transfers go without commission for accounts and debit cards (for credit cards - 4.9% of the amount + 390 rubles). We want to study cash flows and understand which pricing to apply. But definitely it will be cheaper than existing P2P tariffs. Progress in this direction does not stand still.

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