How Supplier-Friendly Card Solutions Improve Business Cash Flow

Innovation is coming to the B2B space, providing businesses with streamlined and efficient payment solutions.

Increasingly, these innovative B2B payment solutions are having a positive impact across both sides of the transaction. Take, for example, the evolution of B2B card issuing.

“We are really at the beginning of the chapter here,” Jill Docherty, senior vice president of issuing at Nuvei, told PYMNTS. “We have certified with the schemes, but we are in the throes of launching our first MVPs in Europe. It’s material for our merchants to elongate the payment flow, not just from an acquiring point of view, but helping those same merchants pay suppliers and handle accounts payable.”

The importance of B2B card issuing benefitting both buyers and suppliers underpins its appeal and scalability. Historically, supply enablement has been an obstacle that B2B businesses face when adopting B2B card payments.

“In the B2B space, supplier enablement has always been a bit of a barrier,” Docherty said. “There’s been a barrier where suppliers don’t accept cards, so businesses can’t pay them with cards.”

However, the ecosystem is evolving, with virtual cards becoming more mainstream and enterprise resource planning systems like SAP and Sage enabling their use.

“The ecosystem has evolved … and we are now starting to see a rising of the tide in terms of supplier enablement,” Docherty said, noting that “there’s been lots of demand on the buyer side to pay with cards, but we haven’t had similar acceptance on the supplier and seller side.”

Allowing Buyers and Suppliers to Embrace B2B Payments

As the B2B payments landscape continues to evolve, providing businesses with the tools they need to succeed means integrating a range of future-fit considerations. One is fraud detection and prevention, areas where B2B cards shine.

Docherty emphasized the inherent security features of virtual cards, such as single-use parameters, transaction value setting and denoting the party on the other side of the transaction. These characteristics inherently and automatically reduce fraud and risk while ensuring high authorization rates and successful card acceptance.

“We want as high an authorization on our issuing products as possible,” she said. “…Through our technology and solutions in the acquiring space, we are able to take a lot of that capability and re-purpose it for our issuing use cases and opportunities.”

Discussing the dynamics of the B2B card issuing business, Docherty noted the importance of understanding the merchants’ needs from an acquiring perspective. She explained that she sees opportunities in verticals such as B2B travel wholesale payments and expense management. In the travel sector, for instance, online travel agents can use virtual cards to pay suppliers without pre-funding transactions, using funds from their merchant-acquiring accounts.

Expense management is another critical area, particularly for businesses with growing employee numbers and travel needs.

Docherty explained that the importance of expense management depends on the company’s size.

“For smaller organizations, they might use their consumer products and manual reconciliation,” she said. “But as they grow, reconciling spend becomes more critical.”

There is an opportunity to provide payment credentials to employees, facilitating better expense tracking and management.

Overcoming B2B Payment Challenges With Ecosystem Benefits

Still, despite the rise of virtual cards, plastic cards have a place in the payment ecosystem.

“Plastic cards are alive and kicking because we have omnichannel experiences,” Docherty said.

Physical cards provide benefits such as loyalty programs and a better customer experience in certain scenarios.

“There’s something quite cool about having a plastic card,” she said, emphasizing the continued relevance of physical cards in an increasingly digital world.

Looking ahead, she said she envisions a future where the lines between different payment types blur, and the focus centers entirely on facilitating seamless transactions for businesses.

“The blurring of the lines is where the innovation is going to come,” she said, stressing that the evolution of different payment types will continue to be driven by the need for cost-efficient and user-friendly solutions.

One of Nuvei’s unique value propositions is its dual role as an issuer and acquirer in Europe. Docherty explained that she believes this dual role enhances the payment experience for firms.

“We offer issuing services that help our merchants by providing a revenue stream, seamless fund movement and a tailored customer experience,” she said.

This integrated approach allows Nuvei to extend the payment value chain, benefiting merchants through enhanced working capital and liquidity savings.

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