B2B Payments

October A Month For Faster, Safer Small Biz Payments

Euler Hermes published new findings last month that highlighted the plight of SMEs looking to actually get paid by their corporate buyers. The company’s 2015 U.S. Export Survey found that while many U.S. SMEs are interested in doing deals abroad, the fear of late- and non-payment is forcing them to old back. One-third of SMEs had experienced non-payment in the last year, researchers found.

In an interview with PYMNTS, Euler Hermes President and CEO of North American Commercial Operations James Daly said cross-border payments can be a “minefield” for SMEs. He pointed to the trade insurance products available, like that offered by Euler Hermes, as one way SMEs can protect their cash flow. But last month, innovators and financial servicers unleashed new solutions to help the smaller companies make their B2B payments more secure, automated, and affordable. PYMNTS breaks down the latest in SME B2B payments from the month of October.

[bctt tweet=”Last month, new solutions made B2B payments more secure, automated, and affordable”]

Security

Sage Payment Solutions announced last month a new collaboration with fraud management firm Kount in an effort to strengthen its small business payment fraud detection. It’s a service that will target card-not-present transactions, a common characteristic of B2B payments.

According to Sage, the tie-up was made in anticipation of a major increase in CNP fraud in the U.S., which some analysts expect to double between now and 2018.

“Fraudsters will continually evolve, and this unique offering will provide another line of defense for small and medium businesses,” said Sage Payments Soutions CEO Paul Bridgewater. “Sage wants to help ensure companies doing business online and over the phone are protected.”

Efficiency

Last month, KPMG focused on B2B payments compliance for the SME segment. The accounting firm’s head of small business accounting Bivek Sharma spoke with PYMNTS to explore how the company is easing the administrative burden of payments for smaller businesses.

Part of that effort, he said, is to collaborate with banks – most recently with Metro Bank – to automate accounting and tax regulatory compliance, instead of small business owners being forced to spend hours on doing so manually.

Plus, Sharma said, automation allows businesses to access crucial data about their cash management happening. “Using data to allow businesses to benchmark their performance within their peer group is also vital,” he told PYMNTS, adding that data analytics are critical in identifying where small businesses are over- or under-spending.

Affordability

Wells Fargo wants its small- and medium-sized businesses to be able to pay each other more affordably, even when dealing with overseas suppliers. The bank decided last month to nix foreign transaction fees for its SME cards in a move Lisa Stevens, Wells Fargo’s head of small business, said would lead to more cost-effective B2B payments for the small- and mid-market crowd.

“Reducing the expense of credit for purchases outside the United States – whether it’s for foreign travel expenses or for buying materials overseas – makes international business more economical for a small business and will add more money to their bottom line,” she said.

October couldn’t be wrapped up without mention of the Money 20/20 event, which saw the debut of a range of payments innovations, from B2C to B2B. One of these debuts came from travel and expense management firm Penny, which revealed the launch of a prepaid card aimed at giving small businesses greater control of how their employees use corporate funds abroad.

SMEs can get a prepaid card that their employees can use without maintenance or usage fees, so smaller companies can manage their spend without spending more to do so.

Like KMPG, Penny focused its new tool on reducing the administrative burden SMEs take on when employees file an expense report – a burden that grows when employees go off-policy in their spend.

“We’ve all experienced admin distracting us from creating value for our customers and bottom lines,” said Penny CEO John Battley at the time of the announcement. “Penny gives every employee their very own assistant. Whether it’s booking company travel or purchasing a business meal, with Penny, you hand an employee a card, download the mobile app and let them get on with their job.”

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