Real-Time B2B Payments Yield Advantages for Merchants
The business-to-business (B2B) industry has been using legacy payment methods like checks, wire transfers, ACH, trade credit, and cash payments for years. These traditional processes have been the backbone of B2B payments for a long time, but now merchants are exploring modern alternatives that offer greater speed, security, and efficiency in the evolving financial landscape. One area of recent interest is real-time payment methods.
Unlike traditional B2B payment methods that involve batch processing and settlement delays, real-time payments allow funds to be transferred instantly, 24/7, and help avoid cash flow disruptions, missed vendor payments, and more. Merchants can experience the benefits of instant payments that eliminate issues and provide faster access to funds, making them more competitive.
Overcoming Hurdles to Utilize Real-Time B2B Payments
Real-time payments offer B2B companies many advantages such as enhanced speed and efficiency, reduced transaction costs, improved cash flow management, minimized fraud risk, and improved transaction transparency. For small-to-medium-sized businesses, instant access to funds boosts cash flow that is vital to the health of a company.
Despite the benefits, moving away from traditional payment methods has its challenges. Existing payment systems must integrate with new technology. Businesses must adhere to compliance regulations while being mindful of data security and privacy. There also needs to be industry-wide standards for real-time payments.
The biggest challenge of widespread adoption of real-time B2B payments depends on banks’ readiness to implement faster payment solutions. Currently, primary instant payment rails in the United States are managed by the Federal Reserve and the RTP® Network overseen by The Clearing House. This entity offers lower transaction limits inherent to this core payment type. These limits are a part of the reason large businesses have continued to rely on wire payments with higher limits rather than modernize their accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) with instant options.
However, real-time payments are still an emerging rail in the U.S., and it is likely that those limits will continue to increase as more merchants learn that there are key features that go beyond the speed of payments. Merchants are learning though education and awareness how real-time payments add value to their business through increased revenue, operational savings, or competitiveness. Already, the current transaction limits across both domestic rails have increased since their launch as the B2B industry has pushed for faster types of payment methods.
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