Today Carol Coye Benson (of Glenbrook) and I concluded a series of private B2B payment webinars, adapting the content of our B2B payment workshop for the product and technology teams at a leading payment providor. Each and every time I speak on this topic, I experience waves of frustration and hope.
Hope becuase there has been a resurgance of investment in the B2B segment of the payments industry, by both familiar and new players, and because payment networks and providors are coalesing around standards (such as ISO 20022) that will at long last enable true straight through proccessing (STP).
Yet simultaneoulsy discouraged because banks have done, and continue to do, an outstanding job of streamlining paper check processing for their corporate customers. The accounts payable department outsources its check printing, sending a file to their bank to print and mail checks and remittances to suppliers. Payments are typically received at a bank’s wholesale lockbox where the checks are deposited and the remittance data is either scanned for character recognition or hand keyed for electronic delivery to the supplier’s accounts receivable system. Remote deposit capture extends check imaging to the corporate office, further streamlining check payments. From a the perspective of corporate AR and AP, checks work. Why fix something that isn’t broken?