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How high-friction payment systems can hinder modern businesses—and what we’re doing about it

When it comes to real-time payments, countries around the world have been innovating for years, while the U.S. has made less progress. In many ways, we’ve come to accept the high friction of moving money on payment rails that haven’t really kept pace with modern risk intelligence and the innovations of our on-demand economy. But these inefficiencies can have real consequences for a growing business.

Below, we take a closer look at six major challenges companies face in today’s payments landscape—and how Orum is building a powerful, embeddable money movement platform to solve them.

1. Payments come with a lot of moving parts.

Moving money is an essential part of doing business for many organizations, but it’s an inherently complex process. Even at the most basic level, handling payments means juggling complex and time-consuming tasks that may include licensing, compliance, and risk management, not to mention actually routing the funds.

Few companies have the time or the resources to build all of these solutions in-house. Most end up turning to third-party services that specialize in one task or another, resulting in a proliferation of vendors, contracts, price tags, and integrations.

Either way, their team of engineers is soon preoccupied with maintaining a collection of payment infrastructures or APIs—instead of creating and perfecting new products.

2. Relying on a single banking network can be risky.

When companies do manage to build and maintain their own payment processing system, they may only have a working relationship with one bank. If that bank’s operations were to be suddenly disrupted or shut down, they would effectively lose their ability to move money.

That means companies need to establish and sustain partnerships with multiple banks to ensure redundancy and reliability—leading to even more operational oversight and upkeep for their team.

3. Most transactions are slow.

A growing majority of money movement in the U.S. takes place over the ACH Network. According to a recent report, ACH moved 7.3 billion payments (totaling $18.4 trillion) in the second quarter of 2021 alone, representing a 25% increase from the year before.

While ACH is the workhorse of payment rails, it’s pushing 50 years old, and its infrastructure hasn’t really kept up with trends in customer demand for real-time experiences. For example, ACH has historically lacked the ability to assess risk in real time and process transfers quickly. As a result, many ACH payments can take three to five days to clear—business days, that is.

4. Too little data means too much risk.

Payments involve the exchange of both money and data—including information around user identities, account numbers, and cash balances—but they don’t always move at the same time. 

With limited visibility into payment data, businesses can put themselves at risk. Many don’t have the predictive risk capabilities to evaluate a transaction and anticipate its outcome upfront. This can leave them vulnerable to fraud or returned payments due to insufficient funds or inaccurate account details.

High rates of return and fraud can mean significant financial losses and a poor customer experience—but they can also land a company in hot water with their bank or even get them suspended from common payment rails like ACH.

5. Payments are pricey—and instant payments are pricier.

When it comes to payments, faster is inherently more expensive, with instant wires and RTP consistently carrying a higher cost than ACH transfers.

These fees apply per transaction, and they don’t include the costs associated with compliance or fraud monitoring measures, meaning money movement expenses can quickly add up for growing companies. Many have little recourse if they want to leverage real-time payment capabilities and stay competitive with their pricing by not imposing additional fees.

6. Intricate payment rail systems can be tough to navigate.

Many payment rails are currently in operation—from ACH, RTP, and wires to card networks and crypto—and each comes with its own pros and cons.

For instance, RTP is instant and runs 24/7/365, but as of now it only offers push capabilities, with pull functionalities still forthcoming. Meanwhile, debit and credit card networks can instantly push and pull funds, but they come with a hefty price tag.


Deciding which rail is best for a given transaction is a complicated process—and it’s not typically front of mind for most business teams, who are understandably focused on their core product.

With few formal resources in place to educate and guide them, many companies miss out on key opportunities to weigh the tradeoffs between payment options, make informed routing decisions, and ultimately boost their business.

Enter Momentum.

Orum works on the principle that every business should have secure access to smart, real-time, and cost-effective money movement.

Our new product, Momentum, is an embeddable, all-in-one API that makes that possible. By combining existing rail infrastructures and banking networks with a proprietary intelligence layer, Momentum tackles a business’s most common payment pain points at once with a number of current and upcoming features:

  • Zero additional integrations
    As a one-stop API for money movement, offering everything from regulatory compliance and risk management to account services and payments, Momentum negates the need for multiple third-party services.
  • Built-in redundancy
    Momentum partners with a broad network of banks, making system redundancy and reliability a core competency and keeping prices competitive.
  • Smart payment routing
    Using a parameterized platform, Momentum will automatically route transactions along the optimal payment rail, according to criteria businesses set around risk and speed.
  • Upfront risk intelligence
    Momentum uses predictive machine learning models to identify fraud and predict returns before a transfer is submitted, allowing partners the option to release low-risk payments immediately or place longer hold times on transfers identified as higher-risk.
  • Specialized support
    Orum’s expert team is on-hand to demystify the complexities of money movement, answer questions, and walk through our platform from end to end.

By enabling real-time payments, Momentum is leading the charge from what should be true—like same-day insurance payouts, instant loans, and earned wages in workers’ pockets at the end of every shift—to what’s truly possible. And by taking the friction out of money movement, it’s empowering modern businesses to help build the future of fast, more inclusive financial access.

Looking for more Momentum?

Read our post on how Momentum works as a one-stop shop for money movement, rolling all of your payment-related tasks—from risk management to regulatory compliance—into a single, easily embeddable API.