At Glenbrook we believe that B2B payments are among the most compelling opportunities in the payment industry today. Card acceptance is growing, yet businesses lack the tools to efficiently process transactions.
My colleague Carol Coye Benson and I recently published the findings from a series of interviews with business-to-business suppliers about credit card acceptance that we conducted earlier this year. Our goal for this reasearch was to determine:
- Whether they accept card payments from business buyers, how they think about this practice, and if they expect it to grow
- How easy it is to apply the incoming card payments using the company’s ERP or accounting package receivables module
- The supplier’s awareness of PCI-DSS and their compliance responsibilities
- The extent to which they are interested in using Software as a Service (SaaS) ERP and accounting solutions
Our objective was to inform future research, rather than generate statistically valid results, so the sample size was relatively modest. Nevertheless, we believe that our discussions provide meaningful insight to the B2B payment marketplace, particularly with regard to card payments.
It is difficult to find companies that accept cards for B2B supplier payments. Card payments from consumers are far more prevalent.
Businesses are polarized when it comes to accepting card payments. They are either very positive (“Accelerate cash flow!”) or fiercely resistant (“No way, it’s too expensive!”)
The line between “card present” and “card not present” in the B2B environment is less clear than it is in a C2B environment. Questions of when the payment is initiated, and by whom, complicate participants’ understanding of the use of cards.
It is hard to overestimate the depth of ignorance about card processing on the part of B2B treasury and operations managers. “What’s a gateway?” “How can I even do that?”
Straight-through-processing (STP) of card payments remains an elusive goal. Companies struggle to integrate their systems in order to automatically apply card payments against open invoices in their receivables.
Business-to-business suppliers of all sizes are relatively unaware of PCI compliance. Even companies that accept cards and should be compliant, are not aware.
Small and mid-sized companies have embraced SaaS solutions more than large enterprises. Those that are using SaaS solutions are processing cards “efficiently and seamlessly.”
The research brief includes the full discussion of these findings as well as excerpts from our interviews with small, mid-sized, and large enterprises. We conclude by recommending specific opportunities for payments providers. Please complete this form to download a copy of our Credit Card Acceptance for B2B Payments research brief: