B2B Payments

The Commercial Card Seeks Value For Both Buyer, Supplier

With accounts payable (AP) solutions increasingly paying attention to supplier needs, commercial card technologies have expanded their focus on both the AP and accounts receivable (AR) side of B2B transactions.

This week's look at the convergence of AR and AP finds American Express and others wielding corporate card technology to tackle friction through offering choice, integration and flexibility.

American Express Debuts AP Offering

As it steps further into the digital B2B payments world, American Express has announced the rollout of its AP offering, American Express One AP.

The tool, announced last week, connects corporate customers to an AP automation platform to more efficiently pay suppliers, the company said. The result of Amex's acquisition of acompay last year, One AP supports a range of payment methods including commercial and virtual card, as well as ACH and check, to ease friction on the supplier side of transactions.

Amex also highlighted the need for corporates to embrace a digital AP workflow that can support work-from-home mandates and integration into other back-office platforms like accounting portals.

In a statement, Los Angeles Regional Food Bank Chief Financial Officer Javier Aceves, an early adopter of the solution, highlighted the benefits for both business buyers and suppliers that stem from an ability to support multiple payment methods.

"Not only have we been able to streamline vendor payments, reduce costs and save time, but we've also been able to continue processing checks while maintaining necessary social distancing protocols," he said.

OnPay Talks V-Card Adoption

With virtual commercial cards an increasingly attractive proposition for the AP department — yet not always for the AR end of a B2B transaction — OnPay Solutions President and Chief Financial Officer Neal Anderson recently discussed with PYMNTS the strategy organizations can take to ensure v-card adoption benefits both buyer and supplier.

"We're not talking about hundred-dollar dinner charges at a restaurant," he told Karen Webster about the challenge vendors face in card acceptance. “We’re very often talking about a $10,000 invoice being paid, and for a supplier to pay 2.5 percent, that’s an expensive way of being paid.”

Although corporate buyers may be eager to embrace the benefits of v-cards, Anderson emphasized that adoption should not be an all-or-nothing game. Rather, v-cards must play a part in a collective ecosystem of a range of payment tools. Through choice, corporate buyers can still take advantage of the v-card without forcing every supplier into accepting the payment method.

Boost Enables STP For Corporate Cards

One of the biggest challenges that vendors face in commercial card acceptance is the need for manual intervention and data entry to move card information and transaction data into their own systems. In a recently-announced collaboration with BMO Harris Bank, Boost Payment Solutions said its corporate card processing technology will now integrate into BMO Harris Bank's B2B payments offering.

The straight-through process (STP) capability means automated payments processing, enhanced remittance and reporting, and efficiencies on both sides of a B2B transaction. By adopting Boost's STP platform Boost Intercept, business users of the tool can see their v-cards automatically ingested into vendor systems to lower barriers to card acceptance. The technology means card information is automatically integrated into suppliers' AR platforms for streamlined acceptance and reconciliation.

SAP ERP Integrates With ezyCollect

On the AR end of B2B payments innovation this week, Australia's Inecom, an SAP partner, recently rolled out an integration capability that connects SAP's Business One ERP system to AR and payments collection tool ezyCollect. The integration makes it easier for suppliers to collect and ingest payments and transaction data, but according to Inecom Director Simon Bishop, the collections tool has benefits for payers, too.

"Almost immediately our clients shorten their payment cycles which generates real cash into their business," he said, signaling an acceleration of buyer payments as a result of streamlined collections workflows.

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