Visa and Billtrust team to digitise US B2B payments with Business Payments Network
Visa and Billtrust have joined forces to develop Billtrust’s Business Payments Network (BPN), which is designed to streamline the delivery of electronic business-to-business (B2B) payments to suppliers.
The new project builds on the “strategic relationship” by the two firms embarked on in 2017. It started with the integration of Billtrust’s Virtual Card Capture and Visa’s Straight Through Processing solution.
“Billtrust’s BPN will further the multipronged strategy Visa and Billtrust are pursuing to reduce friction and streamline payment processes and reconciliation for financial institutions, corporate buyers and B2B suppliers,” the companies explain.
At present, paper cheques still represent around 51% of US B2B payment volumes (according to the 2016 AFP Electronic Payments Survey). “The ubiquity of cheque acceptance in the US has been a key reason it has remained the leading form of payment despite its many disadvantages,” Billtrust and Visa explain.
“Buyers and suppliers have already recognised the advantages of digitiSing payments, including less manual touch, improved fraud controls and enhanced reconciliation. However, the current lack of connectivity between existing B2B payment platforms remains the largest barrier to adoption. Suppliers simply don’t have the systems and processes in place to accept the increasingly complex forms of payment that buyers and their financial institutions want to send.”
BPN is designed to address current industry challenges by:
- providing a connected platform for suppliers, buyers, financial institutions, and accounts payable and accounts receivable software providers;
- publishing an online directory that contains a full view of participating suppliers and their payment acceptance preferences;
- providing financial institutions and corporate buyers with ability to deliver digital payments directly to the suppliers’ acceptance platforms;
- enabling complex financial and payment data to seamlessly come together at scale while delivering streamlined reconciliation to suppliers and buyers.
“Today, suppliers have to balance their own payment preferences with the preferences of their customers’ accounts payable departments – and those two preferences don’t always sync up,” observes Flint Lane, CEO of Billtrust.
“BPN is designed to close the loop on the electronic payment cycle in a more transparent and secure way to more closely replicate the way consumers today pay and get paid, quickly, simply and seamlessly. Creating this type of customer experience in the B2B space is extremely important to us and the industry.”
“With estimates showing the US B2B payments market in the range of $24 trillion annually (Visa Commercial Consumption Expenditure Index, 2015), streamlining efficiencies by adopting innovations such as virtual card payments and other digital payment types can lead to billions of dollars saved,” comments Roger Williams, SVP of commercial card at Commerce Bank.