One of the ongoing manifestations of the pandemic is the digitalization recognition factor, which has kicked in big time during the past few months. Companies that were experiencing inertia around modernizing analog systems and processes in the cash cycle have a new motivational force. Just like with online supermarkets and e-commerce, if you happen to be in that technology lane where demand has shifted due to exogenous reasons, there are clear benefits outside the lines of the broader recessionary effects that our self-imposed business shutdowns have wrought.
In this posting at Cision PR Newswire, we have an example of this digital shift in financial operations which has been underway for several years but is now accelerating given the pandemic’s kick in the pants around benefits available from modernizing systems and processes. Billtrust is a payments automation provider that specializes in making suppliers’ lives easier.
The company partnered with Visa awhile back on the Business Payments Network (BPN), improving the acceptance of virtual cards by making it a straight-through experience. With a new release of BPN, Billtrtust is expanding payment tools and also seeing the pandemic digital effect.
‘…its Business Payments Network (BPN) has seen a 118% increase in payments volume in the first half of 2020 compared to H1 2019, surpassing expectations and indicating strong supplier adoption bolstered by significant new financial institution and fintech partnerships. Carrying strong momentum into the second half of 2020, Billtrust also announces that BPN 3.0 now offers support for ACH and wire, giving network participants the flexibility to automatically transact through the modalities they prefer….Visa Clients and Partners Fuel BPN Adoption…Since the beginning of 2020, the number of accounts payable providers and issuers processing payments through BPN has doubled, expanding its reach to suppliers wishing to receive touchless electronic payments while programmatically enforcing their payment policies. Visa clients including Heartland Financial USA, Inc., M&T Bank and Regions Bank have begun participating in BPN in the first half of 2020….In addition, Commerce Bank, which consistently ranks among the top commercial card issuers, is announcing expanded participation in BPN. Having previously enabled commercial card customers to achieve greater levels of electronic spend as payers into the network, Commerce Bank now enables its merchants to accept automated payments as suppliers in BPN. This marks the first time a financial institution will enable both its issuing and acquiring customers the ability to participate in BPN and benefit from the digital transactions offered through the network.’
The piece goes on to discuss the BPN and its attendant benefits, but the addition of ACH and wire expands the effectiveness of the network since most value in B2B e-payments is through these two payment types; combining remittance data with the payment allows for cleaner reconciliation. We expect that real-time payments would be next in line as the B2B use cases expand, especially ‘Request For Pay’, something suppliers should be excited about.
Overview by Steve Murphy, Director, Commercial and Enterprise Payments Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group