An enormous shift is occurring now in the B2B payments landscape, with a rising number of service providers offering specialised products and services to address buyer/seller pain points. Traditional financial institutions may be particularly vulnerable and resistant to disruptive competition that they have not experienced in their core lending and banking services. However, it has never been easier, thanks to technology and disruptive businesses, for niche players to do what only the larger banks were able to do previously. Financial Institutions can and should tap into this new pathway for growth.
Essential for Business
B2B (business-to-business) payments refer to financial transactions between businesses, as opposed to between a business and a consumer (B2C). B2B payments are typically larger and more complex than B2C payments and often involve invoices, purchase orders, and other documentation. B2B payments are important because they are a critical component of the operations and growth of businesses, and in today’s globalised economy have become even more complex with the added layer of cross-border payments.
B2B payments play a crucial role in the functioning of the global economy for several reasons:
- They support business operations. B2B payments are essential for businesses to pay suppliers for goods and services, purchase raw materials, and manage cash flow.
- Prompt and efficient B2B payments help businesses to maintain positive relationships with their suppliers, ensuring a reliable supply chain and supporting business growth.
- Efficient and secure B2B payments help businesses to manage the risks associated with financial transactions, such as fraud and payment default.
- Effective B2B payment processes can improve a business’s cash flow by reducing payment processing times and increasing the speed and efficiency of financial transactions.
- B2B payments play a critical role in facilitating global trade, as they enable businesses to transact across borders and support the growth of international commerce.
B2B payments can be made through various payment methods, including wire transfers, automated clearing house (ACH) transactions, credit cards, and electronic invoicing systems. These payments are usually processed through specialised payment systems or payment service providers (PSPs) that offer enhanced security, better management of payment processes, and increased efficiency.
B2B Payment Pain Points
Several pain points plague the B2B payment processes. Firstly, they can be complex, often involving multiple parties that require detailed invoicing and reconciliation. Wire transfers and paper checks can take several days to clear, which can feel like an eternity when so many other transactions can take place within seconds or minutes. Cross-border B2B payments can involve high fees or be subject to security concerns due to lack of visibility, making some large-sum transactions subject to fraud. These pain points, combined with new technologies, make the B2B market ripe for change.
An Untapped Market
The widespread adoption of digital technologies is driving a shift towards more efficient and secure payment solutions, presenting an opportunity for new players to enter the market. As businesses look to streamline their operations and reduce costs, demand for efficient and secure B2B payment solutions is growing. With more companies entering the market and offering new payment solutions, competition is increasing, leading to innovation and better products for customers. As global trade continues to grow, the need for secure, efficient, and cost-effective B2B payment solutions becomes more pressing, creating an opportunity for new players to enter the market.
A Market Ripe for Change
The B2B payments market is estimated to be worth trillions of dollars globally, representing a considerable potential for growth and innovation. According to Deloitte, “The middle market, comprised of businesses with revenue from $50 million-$1 billion, is a key sector of the US economy. With total revenues of over $6.6 trillion, the middle market leads the country’s economy and is growing at a fast pace. Middle-market companies are prime targets for banking and lending services. Firms at the lower end of the spectrum (<$100 million) are particularly attractive, as the segment’s average quarterly revenues for companies grew by 6.6 percent year-over-year (YoY) in the second quarter of 2015 (2Q15) compared to GDP growth of 2.7 percent.”
Solutions Moving Forward
New technology and new ways of serving the B2B payments industry is forcing the landscape to change in several ways. For example, automating B2B payment processes can increase efficiency and reduce errors. Adopting common payment standards and protocols can simplify B2B payments and make them more manageable. Moving from traditional payment methods to digital solutions, such as ACH and e-invoicing, can reduce costs, increase security, and improve visibility. Use of intermediaries: Payment service providers and financial intermediaries can help streamline B2B payments and reduce the complexity of cross-border transactions. Collaboration between buyers, suppliers, and banks can lead to the development of streamlined payment processes that address the needs of all parties.
The B2B payments industry is currently undergoing a significant change. With a market so ripe for innovation, a growing number of providers are offering tailored solutions to address buyer and seller challenges. Conventional financial organisations may struggle to adapt to the disruption they face, but technology and innovative companies like PayAlly make it possible for players of all sizes to take on roles previously reserved for larger financial institutions. For advice on which solution may work best for your needs, confer with your personal PayAlly Relationship Manager.