B2B Payments

Making The Case For Mobile B2B Payments

The enterprise has been a bit skeptical about mobile payments. One exception may be in the T&E space, in which FinTechs are introducing ways for employees to make B2B payments and integrate transaction data into expense management systems, a reflection of the mobile nature of the traveling employee.

But Jason Mugford, president and CEO of cross-border corporate payments company AscendantFX, recently told PYMNTS that there is a broader opportunity for mobile payments to make waves in the enterprise — and that his company is looking to take advantage of that opportunity through the launch of its newest tool, the APay Mobile app.

“We’re looking at the need to make international payments more easy and accessible to executives who travel,” he said. “I myself travel all the time and get asked to approve things or make payments. It made sense to create an application that allowed decision-makers to approve and send payments.”

In some ways, the app is a reflection of existing corporate payer needs.

For example, Mugford explained that the app, and the rest of AscendantFX’s services, can support an array of payment rails based on payer and payee preference.

“It’s whatever payment rail the user decides. Payers often prefer wire,” he said, “but we’re seeing now that ACH is the more preferred way of receiving funds, so you don’t get it with an incoming charge.”

The executive also noted that he agrees with concerns over security when it comes to mobile B2B payments for the enterprise. Research released last year from the NAPCP and TSYS found that only 10 percent of executives surveyed considered themselves likely to use mobile payments for B2B transactions, with most executives citing security concerns as the main factor behind their reluctancy.

Mugford says the APay Mobile app addresses these concerns by requiring an identification, username and password to log in to the mobile platform. The company also completes due diligence on all of its customers, and its customers’ payees, before they can use the app.

“Anyone that downloads the app needs to be a  customer,” he explained. “They need to have already signed up, and we would have already done KYC, all your due diligence. This isn’t an app you can just download and make payments on.”

Considering the security concerns, Mugford said corporates approached with a mobile B2B payments offering show mixed reactions.

“Everyone always gets excited about this stuff, but there is caution,” he noted.

The executive also noted that there is a trend not only in corporate use of mobile solutions, but in the B2B payments space overall. The industry is advancing, and while change may be uncomfortable for some executives, eventually these technologies become the norm.

“Once you get comfortable with it, it just seems natural,” he said. “Like, ‘Why didn’t we have this?’”

Mugford said he sees a similar trend happening in the use of APIs for corporate payments and banking too. AscendantFX also offers AFXLink, a tool that uses API to integrate payments services into additional software platforms within the enterprise. It makes the company one of many wielding the power of API technology to promote seamless integration of corporate financial services.

“You need to make payments seamless,” Mugford noted. “It’s very difficult to do business payments because you have authorization, there are audit trails, there is so much more to it than just doing a consumer payment. The API allows us to give our customers and our partners all of the functionality they need — banking requirements, legal requirements, compliance requirements.”

For both a mobile B2B payments offering and API integration solutions, the CEO explained that technologies like these signal new directions for the corporate payments and expense management industry overall.

“The world is going to move this way,” he said. “It’s already moved that way.”

So, while professionals may have their reservations today about some unfamiliar tools, there are FinTechs that are clearly placing their confidence on the enterprise’s ability to adapt.

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