There's no single path to payments infrastructure innovation.
This week's examination of the latest initiatives to target B2B payments friction from the ground up finds a mix of strategies.
For some, like Currencycloud and Steamchain, the path involves bypassing legacy payment rails and embracing blockchain. For others, including AeroPay and Oxbury Bank, the journey involves adding value onto existing rails. And still for others, like InstaReM, payments innovation involves a mix of infrastructure.
Below, PYMNTS rounds up the top stories in payment rail innovation.
InstaReM Expands BizPay
With its solution designed to address friction in supplier commercial card acceptance, Nium's InstaReM brand announced the expansion of BizPay into a new market: Australia. The tool enables companies to make payments using their commercial card, while InstaReM receives funds from that card payment, then passes them through to the supplier via bank transfer. It's a mixing of payment rails that aims to overcome one of the largest barriers to commercial card adoption.
In a statement, Nium Global Head of Commercial Payments Sanjiv Razdan said that it is particularly important today for companies to have this B2B payment flexibility and a solution to optimize working capital.
"COVID-19 is proving to be a litmus test of resilience for businesses worldwide," he said, adding, "In such a situation, a means to generate funds using available credit resources emerges as a promising solution for businesses."
AeroPay Elevates The Bank Transfer
With its newest offering designed for legal cannabis businesses, AeroPay's B2C and B2B payment tools aim to help companies in this market migrate away from manual and paper-based payment methods. While bank transfers may digitize a B2B transaction between a cannabis company and its vendors, there are opportunities to add value onto payment rails like ACH.
That was the motivation behind connecting marijuana firms to what AeroPay describes as its "smart bank transfers," which facilitate the movement of richer, more integrated transaction data between parties that a standard ACH transaction wouldn't provide, the company noted.
"Cannabis businesses and their customers have been forced to rely almost exclusively on cash for too long," Director of Business Development Ryan Coffey said in a statement.
Oxbury Loops Into Faster Payments
Oxbury Bank, which secured its full banking license in the U.K. earlier this year, recently announced a partnership with ClearBank that will enable the company to gain access to various payment schemes. The tie-up will be particularly useful to connecting Oxbury's customers, which operate in the farming and agricultural arena, to make use of Faster Payments to facilitate real-time invoice payments.
In a PYMNTS interview, Tim Coats, Oxbury co-founder, chief customer and regulatory officer, said Faster Payments will become a key rail for the farming and agricultural space to accelerate cash flow through its supply chain.
SWIFT Certifies Fiorano ISO 20022
The ISO 20022 payments messaging standard is a key focus for payments innovators looking to improve upon legacy payment rails. SWIFT is currently in the process of migrating cross-border payments onto the ISO 20022 standard, with a revised expectation to complete that process by the end of 2022.
In the meantime, SWIFT recently announced that Fiorano Software has been certified as a user of SWIFT's Cross-Border Payments and Reporting Plus (CBPR+) payments messaging specifications for financial institutions to more efficiently embrace ISO 20022 and other SWIFT requirements for cross-border transactions. The company operates its Fiorano ISO 20022 Accelerator to facilitate ISO 20022 adoption, which proponents say could be especially beneficial to moving data in a cross-border B2B transaction.
European Banks Ready New Payment System
Recent reports in Verdict.co.uk revealed top banks across Europe are gearing up to develop their own payments system in an effort to rival industry leaders Visa, Mastercard, Apple, AliPay and others.
Dubbed the Pan European Payment System Initiative, or PEPSI, the effort would create a "scheme manager" to centralize governance of national payment schemes, and plans to process card payments and execute bank transfers, instant payments and mobile payments.
Steamchain Lands Investment For Blockchain Tech
As a FinTech that is turning to blockchain rather than traditional payment rails to target B2B payment friction, Steamchain Corp. recently caught the attention of investors at GTT Group, whose patent equity fund Ideaship revealed an investment in the company, although it did not disclose how much it provided.
Steamchain wields blockchain technology to address friction in cross-border payments that result from the traditional interbanking system. Steamchain's platform, which targets B2B firms in the transportation and logistics arena, wields smart contracts and backs transactions with the U.S. dollar to move funds across borders without bank intervention — and thus, without foreign exchange (FX) fees and other markups.
Currencycloud Adopts Ripple's Network
Also embracing blockchain to move B2B payments across borders is Currencycloud, which recently secured a partnership with Ripple to process transactions on RippleNet. Their press release highlighted the friction that small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face when relying on the traditional interbanking system for global payments, with Currencycloud CEO Mike Laven highlighting the transparency and speed of B2B payment processing via RippleNet as another key proposition for SMBs around the globe.