The accounts receivable management industry is using technology to boost collection rates and speed, often offering new payment options, explains BillingTree Partner Relationship Manager Clint Mullins.
As technology streamlines buying between consumers and businesses and between businesses and their supply chains, so too can it streamline the collection of funds tied up in accounts receivables between parties. Technology perhaps becomes especially urgent when it comes to expediting payments for aging receivables, sometimes a dicey process.
BillingTree, which focuses on accounts receivables management and services collection agencies as they attempt to remedy past-due balances, has been active in a number of verticals, including consumer finance collections, health care, telecom and utilities.
The firm operates at the intersection of a number of payments channels, with merchant accounts setup and payments processing and underwriting, as well as document management and payments portals through Payrazr, its suite of software-based payments solutions that also helps alleviate lengthening B2B payments cycles.
Last week, BillingTree said it recently struck a deal with BEAM Software, through which BillingTree’s merchant services and payments solutions are being integrated into the former’s collection software.
BillingTree Partner Relationship Manager Clint Mullins told PYMNTS that, within the accounts receivable management industry, among the “challenges with clients remains the fact that they operate across a variety of channels, with several systems of record.” Merchants can face issues with manual uploading of data and batch uploading of numerous transactions at the end of the day, and, of course, he noted, manual keying carries with it the dreaded specter of inadvertent errors (doubtless you’ve heard of “fat finger” syndrome). All of that takes place against a regulatory environment that is growing ever more stringent.
With the integration into BEAM, said Mullins, uploading is done in real time and automatically, across the BillingTree API and with an eye on backend processes. Compliance oversight remains in place, with the software able to raise red flags across each merchant account (and each merchant account, said Mullins, has its own fraud module). Mullins said both companies “have been aware of each other for quite some time” and that talks between his firm and BEAM began in earnest in the middle of 2015. BEAM represents the first “brand new customer” for BillingTree that has taken on full integration of the firm’s merchant services and Payrazr services.
Using BEAM’s debt management and collection software, collection agencies/agents use the software to work with consumers (or companies, thus broadening presence in the B2B space) and facilitate payments through certain channels — for example ACH or payments portals and then across the BillingTree API.
In the case of, say, an ACH payment, setting up payment options with visibility (such as recurring payments) helps with certainty about revenue streams, and tokenization helps with security — which, Mullins said, gives better insight into how cash position may stand at the end of the day, in the case of, for example, partial payment agreements between firms (and how much must be paid back to agents upon collections).
When asked about which industry verticals see the most activity in both consumer and B2B collections, Mullins noted that health care stood out among the frontrunners, with utilities and financial collections prevalent as well. And though agencies have traditionally used agent calls to conduct recovery processes, BillingTree has seen technology adoption bringing more payments done through online channels, with options expanding to virtual debt negotiation and also IVR.