B2B payment solutions for your business
Ensure your business payment solution is appropriate for B2B transactions.
For many businesses, the overarching goal is to make money while providing the products and services your customers and clients are looking for. To do that, patrons should have a convenient way to pay you. When conducting business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions, payment processes are often a breeze, but managing and processing business-to-business (B2B) payments may be a different story.
If a business relies entirely on dated B2B payment methods, like paper checks or cash, you could be limiting payment possibilities, resulting in unnecessary inconveniences for you and your business. Digital B2B payments may help streamline and simplify your B2B transactions, providing a much-improved alternative to traditional payment methods.
Capital One believes your business deserves the best. Determine if digital payment solutions are the right option for your business by learning more about B2B payments and solutions below.
What are B2B payments?
B2B payments are transactions made between two businesses, such as a retailer and a supplier. Unlike B2C payments, they're often—though not always—made on a recurring basis and billed in arrears, which means the client pays after the services or goods are delivered. With this billing method, the client may receive an invoice during or shortly after delivery and has a set number of days in the billing cycle—typically 30 to 90 days—to pay it.
B2B payments also differ from B2C payments in terms of speed. B2C payments are usually one-time, immediate transactions that result in money being deposited into your business account within a few days. Because B2B payments may rely on invoicing and billing cycles, it may take weeks—or longer—for you to be paid for the services or goods you provide. B2B payments may also involve multiple departments in both businesses (like accounts payable and procurement), as well as financial institutions that approve and process the payments, further delaying the deposit.
The bright side is that there are several different payment methods you can use for B2B payments, some of which may help speed the process or provide other benefits.
What are the B2B payment methods?
There are several B2B payment methods, including digital options. Popular B2B payment types include the following:
- Digital payments through online payment gateways or platforms are secure and convenient, allowing clients to pay for their purchases online. However, they may take time to process, and digital payment platforms often charge fees for their services.
- Credit and debit cards allow suppliers to receive payment almost immediately. Credit cards also give buyers the choice to pay the transaction amount later if needed. Businesses that accept cards for payment may pay a small fee for each transaction and will need to purchase equipment to take card payments. One-time virtual cards also fall into this category.
- Wire transfers are secure payments between banks that are routed through a financial network. They are one of the most immediate B2B payment methods, with money typically being available within a few hours.
- Electronic bank transfers through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) are secure, reliable payments between two banks. They may take a few days longer to process than standard wire transfers.
- Cash is the fastest payment type and doesn’t include extra fees or costs, but it does have risks. Money may be lost, stolen or damaged without proper safe storage options. Paper currency can also be counterfeit.
- Checks, both paper and electronic, are often slow and may not be very secure. Paper checks may be lost, stolen, damaged or returned due to insufficient funds. When you deposit a client’s check into your account, your financial institution must request the funds from the client’s financial institution before the amount is reflected in your account.
Benefits of automated B2B payment solutions
Businesses large and small are trending toward using automated and digital B2B payment solutions for the advantages they offer. B2B payment automation may help you better monitor your cash flow, provide higher levels of security and simplify accounting processes, all without disrupting your clients' experiences with your business. From invoicing to payments to reconciliation, automation expedites the process and provides convenience to customers and businesses alike.
Improve cash flow
B2B payment automation offers benefits for monitoring your cash flow and managing client relationships. Digital and automated payment methods typically offer more security and reliability when compared to cash or checks, which may be damaged, go missing, bounce or be fake. This helps preserve your earnings and minimize losses.
Many automated payment services also provide your business with detailed reports to help monitor your cash flow, so you can easily identify patterns and plan accordingly. Reports may also offer insights into your clients’ payment trends and reliability, so you can make informed decisions about their contracts and the terms of your relationships.
Simplify the accounting process
Automated B2B payment solutions may also minimize the risk of human error and make accurate record-keeping easily attainable. Physical checks or cash payments may be misplaced, overlooked or recorded incorrectly during the bookkeeping process. With digital and automated payments, the system should keep an accurate and detailed record of each payment. Some services may even integrate with your accounting software, simplifying internal record-keeping and tax processes.
Automated B2B payments means your employees will spend less time handling, processing and recording physical payment methods or correcting human errors that occur during those processes, freeing them up to focus on more critical tasks. It should enable them to be more efficient and help streamline accounting processes, which can have a positive impact on your business overall. Plus, paper checks cost $2 on average to process, which quickly adds up when processing large volumes.
B2B payment automation may also benefit your clients for similar reasons, as digital payments are often faster to make and easier for their accounting teams to track and record. Overall, B2B payment automation offers you savings related to more efficient labor, reduced processing fees and fewer human errors.
Sending paper checks or cash through the mail may leave you and your clients vulnerable to unfortunate situations. Payments may be stolen or tampered with, or sensitive information displayed on checks may be recorded and used for nefarious purposes. With digital B2B payments, the risk is considerably lower.
Reliable payment gateways and platforms typically employ entire teams dedicated to securing payments and sensitive information against hackers or data breaches, using state-of-the-art cybersecurity approaches. It is also considerably easier to track payments through digital means than through paper mail.
Commercial payment solutions
Commercial payment solutions are geared toward larger businesses—such as those with annual revenue of $10 million or more—that need to be more flexible and scalable and require modern features to streamline their operations. The best commercial payment solutions typically help you track and pay invoices more efficiently, better manage cash flow, flexibly control employee spending and manage liability, compliance and other financial risks. They may also offer detailed, robust reports that deliver valuable insights and simplify accounting and tax procedures.
Capital One offers all of this and more with easy-to-use, integrated Corporate Payment Solutions and a dedicated support team that's with you from day one.
- Simplify your invoice payments with Capital One cloud-based payable solutions, which can save you time, improve your cash flow and benefit your vendor relationships by minimizing manual processes and using innovative technology, like with Virtual Card Relay.
- With Virtual Card Relay, you can streamline and track vendor payments in real-time, quickly send invoice payments directly to vendors and use exact-pay, single-use accounts for added security and fraud protection.
- Capital One’s One Card is a corporate credit card that boosts flexibility when managing expenses. It simplifies your expense reporting and earns market-leading rewards to build long-term value for your business.
Plus, Corporate Payment Solutions deliver additional capabilities to help you efficiently manage employee corporate card spending, update your business's finances from anywhere, easily manage intercompany account transfers and minimize your personal liability.
When you choose Capital One's Corporate Payment Solutions, you're choosing innovative, intuitive technology that makes managing your business more efficient, more convenient and more rewarding. These solutions may even help you reduce costs.
Get in touch with experienced team members to determine which commercial or B2B payment solutions best fit your needs.
B2B payment solution providers
There are numerous digital B2B payment platforms that offer these benefits. When you use Capital One's Merchant Services, powered by Worldpay, you can accept payments through the following methods and platforms:
- Cards, including major credit cards, gift cards and loyalty cards using swipe, EMV and contactless methods
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
- And more
Capital One payment-processing solutions provide access to your payments typically as soon as the next business day. Transparent account reporting and a suite of data security tools are available to help you stay on top of your business's cash flow and client experiences.
Streamlined B2B payment solutions
Implementing new technology in any aspect of your business can seem intimidating, but digital B2B payment options may offer your business and clients convenience, security and speed. Transitioning to an automated B2B payment solution often minimizes accounting errors, offers cash flow insights, streamlines your accounting processes and reduces labor and processing costs.
Capital One is committed to helping your business thrive through reliable and innovative business solutions. Learn how you can grow your business by checking out other Capital One Small Business Bank services, or learn more by exploring the Business Hub.