We have continued to advise our readers that collaboration across fintech categories is a long term trend and the B2B space is ripe with ongoing examples. This particular announcement between Amex and Bill.com, appearing in OA online, is simply another approach. This actually follows on the heels of something we commented upon in a December PJ posting that also involved Bill.com, which had added virtual card capabilities to their payments platform through another partner. In this case, Amex is taking the lead with a product announcement called Vendor Pay.
In a report released just this week, titled Fintech in Corporate Banking: Digitize or Miss the Boat, we describe three categories of fintech, which is a term that incorporates lots of companies, not just recent startups:
- Mature fintech companies have been providing products and services to the banking industry for several decades. Some are still privately held, but mature fintechs are more likely to be public entities now. The list of such firms is long. Examples include ACI, CGI, FICO, First Data, Fiserv, Jack Henry, Pegasystems, Pelican, Temenos, and TSYS.
- Mature start-ups are fintechs that have been operating for at least 10 years and have well-established, solid business models, products, and revenue streams. Companies in this category include Adyen, AvidXchange, Envestnet, Infor, Kofax, Tradeshift, and Zafin.
- Start-ups, as the term is now generally applied, are companies less than 10 years old. They run the gamut from the early-funding stage to profitability. There is now a plethora of firms in this category, with proliferation recently in the artificial technology (AI), blockchain, and regulatory compliance (regtech) market spaces.
So this is a case where a mature public fintech (Amex) is collaborating with a mature startup (Bill.com) to create something for the B2B space, which has become (and continues to be) a primary innovation focal point in the past two years. This piece also indicates that Amex Ventures has been an investor in Bill.com as well.
‘This new solution streamlines vendor payments, improves working capital and cash conversion cycles, and provides better data for payment reconciliation, all while helping businesses earn the rewards of the Card. In one simple online dashboard, Vendor Pay allows American Express Business and Corporate Card Members to pay their company’s bills with more control and visibility over the AP process. It also provides enhanced security through the use of unique, single-use virtual account numbers with their existing Business or Corporate Card.’
The fintech innovation space has been trending towards B2B, using various latest gen technologies. We have not yet had the benefit of speaking to the two business parties, so in this case we are making an assumption that and API-based integration will be the setup, as this tech finds a broader home in corporate banking and payments. The primary benefits include digitalization of financial operations, as well as the inclusion of virtual card capabilities, with the associated working capital flexibility and risk reduction that these tools create. A follow-on benefit is ease of use, as the experience becomes pervasively easier through scale as businesses grow. The solution also includes an option for Amex customers to utilize Bill.com’s ACH and check services.
“As businesses grow in size, their accounts payable needs become more complex, driven by more vendors and more invoices,” said E-Bai Koo, Executive Vice President, American Express Global Commercial Services. “As a partner to businesses around the world, we strive to make it easier for customers to get business done. We’re excited to build a long-term partnership with Bill.com, a leader in digital business payments, to offer our Card Members a streamlined approach to vendor payments.”
Overview by Steve Murphy, Director, Commercial and Enterprise Payments Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group