Help Centre Sending & receiving payments

What are account-to-account (A2A) payments?

Innovation in the past decade has seen account-to-account (A2A) payments become faster, safer, and more convenient for businesses and consumers. But what are they, and why do they matter? Let’s find out!

What are account-to-account payments?

An account-to-account payment is a process that allows a person or business to send money directly from one account to another. A2A payments enable the payee to move money from their account to the service provider or merchant’s bank account faster, quicker, and cheaper.

What do account-to-account payments look like?

People and businesses use account-to-account payments regularly. Here are a few examples:

  • Bill payments

  • Bank payments

  • Peer-to-peer payments

  • Direct debits

Thanks to developments over the past decade, these payments have become faster and more convenient for businesses and individuals.

The two types of A2A payments

Account-to-account payments can be separated into two distinct types:

Push payments

Push payments do exactly what they say on the tin, allowing payees to send money at the ‘push’ of a button through online banking. Push payments usually consist of one-off sums to another bank account, often called instant payments or bank transfers. APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) can also initiate push payments by sending users notifications to prompt transfers.

Pull payments

Pull payments occur when a company or organisation automatically withdraws (or pulls) money from a consumer's bank account. Pull payments often take the form of subscriptions, direct debits or recurring automated payments for goods and services. Pull payments require the account owner's explicit consent before transferring money.

What are the benefits of account-to-account payments?

There are numerous benefits to incorporating A2A payments into your business structure, all of which lead to faster and more substantial growth.

Improved conversion rates

Convenience and speed are huge factors in deciding whether consumers complete transactions. With quicker, smoother payments inevitably come higher conversion rates for B2C and B2B brands.

Reduced transaction costs

Many businesses face card network charges for every outgoing transaction. A2A payments remove card payment networks from the process and instantly reduce transaction costs. The result? More money in your pocket. 

Global reach

Due to the simple nature of A2A payments, many clients and consumers can get on board. Every business and consumer (should) own a bank account, meaning your business can reach a bigger pool of customers leading to faster and more substantial growth.

Faster payment times

Unlike other transaction forms, A2A payments don’t have to go through intermediaries. That means A2A payments are (near) instant, with recipients receiving funds before they’ve been fully debited from a payees account.

Are account-to-account payments safe?

Account-to-account payments can be safe for businesses because they involve the transfer of funds directly between bank accounts without the need for a third-party payment processor. This can reduce the risk of fraud and errors that can occur when using other payment methods. Additionally, many banks have robust security measures in place to protect account information and prevent unauthorised access.

However, businesses should still exercise caution when making account-to-account payments and take steps to verify the identity of the recipient and ensure the accuracy of payment details.

Level up your international business payments

A2A payments are a quick and convenient way for businesses to streamline payment processes. Whether it be enhanced security, reduced costs, or simply speed - it’s understandable why many companies are incorporating A2A payments into their payment structures.

Are you interested in levelling up your business’s payment structure? You can check your eligibility for free and get pre-approved for a 3S Money International Business Account in under 15 minutes.