November 2018

3 Essential Ways Technology is Changing B2B Payments

2 minute read

In today's world, fintech advances such as electronic payments and blockchain are changing the way money moves between businesses, customers, and countries.

In order to make better financial decisions, B2B business owners need to keep up with how technology is changing the payments landscape. Here are three key points to get them started.

Blockchain Technology Benefits Cross Border Businesses

Rarely a day goes by without a major news outlet reporting on some aspect of blockchaining. And for good reason—a recent report forecasts the market will be worth a $30 million USD by 2020, and a whopping $566.2 million by 2025.

Blockchain is behind the rise of what's known as peer-to-peer (P2P) payment providers. These providers partner with international cloud-based accounting companies to match currency buyers and sellers regardless of their location. Not only is this more efficient than the previous method, it also costs less, and saves time, effort, and paper.

Better yet, money can move across the world between customers, businesses, and suppliers for cross-border payments with just a few clicks.

Blockchain is also the technology behind cryptocurrencies — encrypted digital currencies used as a vehicle of exchange for goods or money, like Bitcoin and Etherium. Blockchain benefits cross-border businesses that often make and receive large electronic payments. These businesses include Canadian companies that may purchase materials from American suppliers or provide services for customers south of the border.

Blockchain technology saves time, reduces human error, adds security, and streamlines cross-border transactions through an independent and transparent stand-alone database that doesn't need a third party for processing.

Online Payments Offer Cutting-Edge Security and Control

Payment initiation service providers (PISPs) let purchasers pay online securely and directly from their bank accounts. In addition, digital payment solutions such as American Express vPayment® can generate one-time-use-only virtual account numbers which can be used for one specific transaction, reducing the opportunity for future fraudulent transactions.

Because you don't need to swipe a card to pay your supplier, account payment information is well protected. At the same time, it's faster yet has enhanced security, and offers efficient reconciliation with superior detail.

This solution greatly simplifies traditional reconciliation methods because it matches unique information to supplier payments, creating a Virtual Account Number that can include up to 20 data fields for each transaction associated with that account. This allows for very detailed reporting. In addition, the more efficient transaction processing of integrated payment reduces the time and cost associated with finding information and paying invoices.

Sending payments electronically also gives businesses more control over their cash flow. American Express vPayment® lets program administrators determine the exact value of each "virtual" account created, the time-frame for use, and the suppliers it can be used for. This can help businesses avoid incidents like being charged an incorrect amount, or getting charged earlier than agreed. If the value of the virtual account doesn't match the charge, the transaction gets declined.

Mobile Wallet Use Simplifies Off-Site B2B Payments

In today's world, Canadians increasingly make purchases using their smartphones. According to a 2017 Google report, more than 30 percent of Canadians have already done so. This comfort with making consumer purchases spills over into the business world as well.

A mobile wallet lets smartphone users carry their credit card details digitally on their smartphone. This cuts down on the need to carry cash or a traditional wallet bulky with multiple credit cards.

In many ways, the rise of mobile wallet usage simplifies the payment of business materials. It's particularly beneficial for businesses delivering goods to customers while away from an office — say at a building site, or a trade show. A mobile wallet containing a business credit card allows customers to pay immediately through their smartphones.

Consider using one or more of these methods to send or receive electronic payments in your business. You'll enjoy more efficient transactions, improved control over your cash flow, and reduced risk of fraud exposure.