Though more than half of corporate payments are done through paper means, increasingly, and recently, a number of players have been jumping into the fray to bring payments to the digital realm, enough to have made this past week a B2B sizzle.
News came this week of a slew of initiatives geared toward helping companies make and receive payments across borders, with speed and safety, in ways that leave the days of emails, PDFs, faxes and “checks in the mail” in the dust.
In one notable headline, payments giant Visa said Thursday (April 25) that FIS has integrated B2B Connect, in a way that will allow commercial financial institutional clients access to the B2B Connect Platform. As has been previously reported, that platform is underpinned by DLT and is focused on large-value transactions. The two firms’ banking clients can send funds to and from participating banks, which removes intermediaries from the process.
During the conference call discussing its latest quarterly results with analysts, Visa CEO Alfred Kelly noted the relationship is one that brings on FIS as a distribution partner and joins previously announced Visa partners such as Bottomline. Said CFO Vasant Prabhu on the call: “So we are leveraging distributed ledgers already in the B2B space and B2B Connect is now ready for launch. It has got all the necessary approvals, it's got partners lined up, banks lined up, hopefully, when we talk again, B2B Connect will be live.”
Later in the call, the CFO said “Visa Direct is a big component to B2B also. Visa Direct is already in the business of facilitating B2B payments, and B2B Connect then takes that to larger corporates and larger businesses on a global basis, as Visa Direct … provides cross-border solutions for small and medium-sized businesses. So this is clearly a central element of our future growth plans.”
Want further evidence of B2B popping to the top of mind and roadmap for firms? In another example, this time in India, EnKash, an India-based B2B payments platform, announced new funding this week – to the tune of $3 million, from backers at Mayfield India and Axilor Ventures, reported VCCircle. The company’s platform connects suppliers, corporate customers and credit providers, and EnKash offers a solution that connects all users to analytics and reconciliation capabilities.
And separately, in an interview with PYMNTS, Resolve CEO Chris Tsai said the B2B payments services firm focused on business financing is seeing traction coming from newer product categories, and companies hyperfocused on growth, “where growth is the entire theme of the industry.” Growth, funding, the abandonment of the paper check … all dovetail this week to make B2B payments a sizzle.
P2P: Zelle’s payment values were up 54 percent year on year, to 147 million transactions and a value of $39 billion. The volume was up 72 percent. Elsewhere, PayPal released Venmo user data for the first time – at 40 million active monthly users – and has said user growth is accelerating.
Postmates: Delivering on its expansion plans to keep, well, delivering, the company has said it is entering 1,000 more cities. The company says it is now available to about 70 percent of households in the country, which is a leap from the 26 percent seen as recently as the middle of 2018.
Payments Intermediation: There were puts and takes in eBay’s latest quarter amid its turnaround efforts; one bright spot has been managed payments, where that business grew 61 percent quarter over quarter. The total payments intermediated to date stands at $363 million since a September 2018 launch.
Bitcoin Investments: Win some, lose some, sometimes lose quite a lot. News came this week that amid crypto volatility and a general downtrend, Japanese billionaire and Softbank Founder Masayoshi Son has lost $130 million on the bitcoin that he bought as far back as 2017, and sold last year.
Lyft: No lift from a raft of bullish sentiment seen the past few weeks. Analysts say the company will see black at some point on the bottom line, and some like a mono-minded focus on transportation, in contrast to Uber’s continued branching out into new revenue streams.
Samsung: In the bid to gain some share against Apple amid the phone wars, the Galaxy Fold smartphone launch is being delayed. The company has said “substances found inside the device affected the display performance.” No new release date has been set – yet.