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What do business users want from their future payments solutions?

By : Andy Brown

August 22, 2017 08:00 AM

The payments market has undergone a huge transformation in recent years, with a wide range of new technologies helping make transactions faster and more convenient than ever. But while the great variety of mobile and peer-to-peer offerings has made things much simpler for the consumer market, what about the business sector?

 

While large enterprises may still be using the same, corporate-focused solutions they have relied on for many years, smaller organizations can take advantage of consumer-based solutions for small-volume payment processing. Indeed, tools such as the UK's Paym mobile payments system have solutions aimed at small and micro-business users.

 

Mobile tools a key demand for business customers
It's not just small companies that are turning to mobile as a key payments technology for their business. A recent study of chief financial officers (CFOs) in the US, conducted by Zogby Analytics on behalf of WEX, found more than half of executives (55 percent) agree that the use of mobile capabilities to manage and approve payments will be important to their business over the next two years.

 

However, while there has been a lot of activity on this front in the consumer space from emerging fintech providers, enterprises appear to be less convinced by these new options. Just 16 percent think fintech startups will be the providers most likely to disrupt the business payments sector in the next 12 to 24 months. This compares with 39 percent who believe it will be payments processing companies that will lead the way, while 36 percent stated large banks are most likely to disrupt the sector.

 

This indicates that enterprises are still more likely to put their faith in tried and tested solutions from established names who have already built up a large amount of trust, rather than turning to newcomers whose credentials may be more uncertain. This may be a key difference from the consumer market, where convenience is often the driving factor in the tools people use.

 

What functionalities do business users expect?
One of the key expectations from CFOs of their payments solutions is the ability to handle transactions in multiple currencies. As even the smallest firms are now expected to be able to operate internationally, it is perhaps unsurprising that tools to make this easier are top of many executives' list of priorities. Nearly two-thirds of CFOs (64 percent) rated this as being very important to their business, with the figure rising to 76 percent among executives at larger companies - those with annual turnovers of more than $51 million.

 

When it comes to choosing a payments platform, customer experience is the most important factor. More than seven out of ten respondents named this as being among their most influential criteria when assessing options, while fast reconciliation capabilities and reporting analytics (both 60 percent) also featured strongly.

 

This highlights that in an era when individuals will already have high expectations for speed, convenience and usability of payments platforms from their personal life, they will expect nothing less when using a business solution. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the payments industry and big banks to make sure they are not overlooking these solutions when developing their offerings.

Andy Brown

Marketing Director, Payments

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Andy has nearly 30 years experience in e-payment systems from the delivery and support of systems in the Far East and Europe and in the product management and marketing perspective. Based in the UK, Andy is responsible for marketing NCR payment solutions.