Australian bank Westpac is launching a new solution for its small and medium-sized business clients in an effort to provide them a more hands-on experience with their money management.
According to Monday (Feb. 15) reports, the FI is rolling out its Business Link, an online platform for supply chain and trade management, with capabilities for cross-border payments as well.
The portal was developed in collaboration with supply chain service provider Octet, which built Business Link alongside Westpac Chief Product Officer Jim Tate, reports said. The initiative was launched after the developers realized that SMEs in the nation spend significant time on manual, simple processes in their supply chain management.
Tate told reporters that this portal makes Westpac the nation’s first bank to provide an online resource for SMEs that helps them pay overseas suppliers, in addition to linking them with supply chain management solutions. Businesses can use their existing commercial card products with the platform to pay suppliers, he added.
“What we are trying to do here is help businesses that process invoices of between $100,000 and $200,000 on a quarterly basis to use their existing resources, like credit cards, to pay their suppliers, helping them free up their cash flow,” Tate said in an interview with The Australian.
He pointed to the friction that exists in B2B payments between Australian and Chinese businesses.
“We know many Chinese exporters do not accept credit card payments due to merchant restrictions, and, as a result, many Australian businesses are unable to use funds sitting dormant on their credit cards,” Tate explained.
Octet Managing Director Clive Isenberg added that the portal allows SMEs to use the funds on their cards to pay suppliers both in Australia and overseas.
“By using the credit cards they already have to facilitate suppliers both in Australia and abroad, small businesses could pay invoices earlier, negotiate potential discounts on goods with better credit terms and may get rewards points simply by going about their business,” he told reporters.
The portal additionally provides currency exchange, other payment mechanisms and communication services for business users, Isenberg said, and offers a broader overview of an SME’s finances for financial institutions before they let a business actually interact on the portal.