As B2B payments and commercial finance innovate, many products are beginning to blur the lines between the two financial tools.
Take the rise of commercial credit cards, for example. Used as both a way to access credit, then use that credit to make a payment, the card can be a versatile product that supports the cash flow needs of both sides of a B2B transaction — if a supplier is willing to absorb the interchange fee.
According to Jo-ann Chung, chief product officer at Australia-based WLTH, corporate cards are evolving within the ecosystem of corporate payments and finance disruption in ways that can reduce the burden on suppliers looking to get paid more quickly. She told PYMNTS about WLTH’s strategy to incorporate cards in the broader effort to optimize corporate cash management through payments and lending technology.
Tackling Business Pain Points
WLTH, which recently announced a seed funding round, offers both B2B and consumer-focused finance and payments solutions. As the firm introduces new products, B2B payments and finance remain in its focus: the company is developing a batch payments service, WLTH Pay for Business, to facilitate B2B supplier payments, for example.
“Business owners are time-poor,” Chung said, pointing to some of the biggest friction points that businesses face today.
Organizations need technology that not only facilitates an action, like making a payment or obtaining financing, but can actually help them streamline how those transactions are made. Services should promote cash flow management, she said, and provide actionable insights that allow a company to understand revenue and expenses in meaningful ways.
In other words, time- and resource-strapped companies need access to financial products that can generate value out of non-value-adding workflows.
“Paying bills is not a value-adding task for business owners, but it is a necessary part of running any business,” noted Chung. “Today, the process can be time-consuming and disjointed, involving multiple systems and processes, and often doesn’t give you the visibility you need to see where things are at.”
Adding Cards To The Mix
In addition to its batch payments and financing offerings, WLTH is investing in corporate card technology. Key to the proposition is having infrastructure that allows a business to access credit to make card-based payments, without forcing the supplier to accept that card.
Today, Chung said, businesses are forced to stitch together multiple services and products in order to benefit from the breadth of payments and financing options. This can be a costly strategy and hold a firm back from having access to value-added features.
“A lack of options in the market to help customers manage the end-to-end process [of managing finance] make it costly for customers [who] need to sign up for multiple solutions in order to get things done,” she said.
The lack of options, the lack of time to research the right solutions and the lack of access to data that can deliver richer insights about their businesses can continue to hold firms back from modernizing B2B payments, corporate finance and cash management strategies.
When connected with the right solutions, firms can gain the power to identify growth opportunities and operate with greater agility in the market. It’s what Chung said defines a firm’s ability to not just automate workflows like loan applications or payment reconciliation but actually optimize financial strategy.
“I believe that it means allowing a business to use technology to be able to easily manage their income, expenses, assets and liabilities with the objective of driving growth, maximizing profits and ensuring sustainability,” she noted.