B2B Payments

Visa And Billtrust To Streamline V-Cards

In B2B payments, it’s not just the movement of money that’s a pain point for companies — it’s the tracking of that payment and the ability to reconcile those transactions that can be a major headache for both payers and payees.

In an announcement on Tuesday (Oct. 17), Visa said it is tackling that issue through a new partnership with accounts receivable (AR) and cash management company Billtrust.

Together, the companies will enable streamlined payment reconciliation, facilitated by automated virtual card (v-card) payments in a solution built for financial institutions and their corporate clients.

While virtual cards provide speed, security and digitization for corporate buyers, v-card acceptance continues to be a significant point of friction for suppliers, the companies said in their announcement, thanks to manual data entry and reconciliation for the accounts receivable team. Visa is integrating its Straight Through Processing capabilities into Billtrust’s existing Virtual Card Capture tool to further enhance suppliers’ ability to not only accept virtual cards, but to automatically capture payment information for reconciliation.

“Billtrust has deep expertise in addressing the pain points that suppliers and merchants have within B2B,” said Taira Hall, vice president, U.S. Partnerships & New Initiatives, Visa Business Solutions. Hall shared her thoughts with Karen Webster about the importance of this collaboration and why virtual cards present both a challenge and an opportunity for corporate payers and payees.

According to Hall, collaboration with FinTechs is critical to addressing key hurdles of virtual cards, like acceptance and reconciliation, that have so far prevented greater adoption of the payment rail.

“When it comes to growth of virtual corporate card payments, we have seen and built a lot of momentum on the accounts payable side,” Hall said. “We have formed partnerships with brands like Bora Payment Systems, MineralTree, CSI globalVCard, to name a few.”

“Today, together with Billtrust, we are one step closer to removing adoption barriers for suppliers and their accounts receivable departments.”

Using Visa’s Straight Through Processing solution, card issuers’ buyers can automatically initiate a payment using a Visa commercial card straight from their existing accounting platforms. Billtrust will enable suppliers on the receiving end to see funds land in their bank accounts the next business day and will facilitate the payment processing and capture data from that payment, consolidating it into the Billtrust platform to automatically match with invoices.

“With the increasing popularity of virtual cards in the B2B market, we’re solving what is quickly becoming a very critical pain point for AR teams — one that impacts their cash flow, customer satisfaction and operational efficiency,” said Billtrust CEO Flint Lane in a statement.

In conversation with Webster, Taira Hall also alluded to the ongoing barriers not only to virtual card adoption and AR automation, but also to electronic payments adoption overall in B2B payments.

“Billtrust is uniquely positioned through their supplier relationships to address typical barriers to ePayables adoption, such as high fees and manual reconciliation, leveraging their accounts receivable solution to streamline processes, provide automation and reduce complexity in virtual payment processing,” the executive noted.

According to Hall, verticals like construction, equipment and healthcare can especially benefit from greater supplier acceptance of virtual cards. And that’s good news for card issuers, too, which could see greater net-new card payment volume.

In addition to the joint solution, Visa also revealed it has made a strategic investment in Billtrust. The partnership and the investment follow a long list of other initiatives Visa has made in B2B payments in the last few months alone. Earlier this year, Visa launched the Visa Ready Program for Business Solutions, a group of services that more quickly enables companies to deploy Visa’s B2B payments offerings, including virtual cards, accounts payable automation and more.

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