E-Payments Make Another Stride Forward for B2B Transactions

Another initiative to push e-payments in and paper checks out of the business-to-business (B2B) sphere emerged recently, this new method using libraries in a Business Payments Network (BPN). Visa and Billtrust announced an open buyer and supplier payments platform designed to digitize the payment chain between businesses.

Most consumers have switched from cash and checks to debit cards and e-payments, but B2B payments have largely resisted this change: two-thirds of all business transactions are still done through paper mail. Banks and payment companies have been attempting to innovate the process recently, catching the B2B world up to speed.

Throughout the last 20 or so years, Billtrust compiled information from roughly 2,000 suppliers in the U.S., tracking how each supplier accepts e-payments (by card or ACH). After it’s determined how the supplier will be paid, the accounts payable (AP) provider—a bank or an independent software company—will send the instructions through the BPN to pay the supplier by the preferred method.

While this effort has taken a couple of decades to launch and checks still remain relevant in B2B payments, the use of this BPN will not make any significant changes overnight. But this method may inspire businesses moving forward into the e-payment and digital world.

—Christie Citranglo, editorial associate

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