USPS Slowdowns Add More Hurdles To B2B Payments

New delays at the United States Postal Service (USPS) have complicated B2B payments further even as they were already disrupted by the pandemic, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Reports collected from various sources have mail arriving much later after days of delays, including for such things as medications and paper checks for payroll.

Paper check payments have long been a hold-out in B2B payrolls, even as much of the world goes digital. The main reason they live on is because they’re still pretty universally accepted and are quick and easy to send out.

The COVID-19 pandemic, though, delivered much steeper difficulties to overcome as people had to work from home, without their usual back-end offices and equipment, which complicated payments.

The changes to USPS come from the newly-appointed postmaster, Louis DeJoy, who put in place cost-cutting measures like removing mail sorting machines, removing the old blue mailboxes on many street corners across the country, and slashing overtime. Those measures, the LA Times clarifies, have since been stopped from affecting anything else in the future, but they were already done before that decision was made.

Now, delays in a wide range of deliveries are occurring, among them small businesses’ shipments through USPS from sites like eBay and Etsy.

Paper check production comes with a set of challenges that are antithetical to all of the above crises. It involves shipping the check over several steps of the process, and people need to be in the offices to do things like printing and packaging the checks.

First, the pandemic made it so that the office processes were heavily slowed down due to lockdown procedures and work-from-home shifts. Then the USPS changes added to that, delaying mail by as much as months at a time, according to the LA Times piece.

Digitizing B2B payments seems to be the new trend, according to PYMNTS. Some companies are utilizing push payments that make use of card and bank rails to move funds, while others look to blockchain or better, easier card acceptance features to make digital payments more palatable and attractive.