The Biggest Barrier to Entry for Electronic B2B Payments in the US

April 4, 2018


Accounting teams across North America rely too heavily on paper checks as their primary form of payment to vendors. Not only does check processing involve plenty of manual work, but at high volumes check runs can be a large drain on a company’s resources and time. Electronic payments are a much-needed alternative to checks, but in the United States in particular, companies have been reluctant to get on board.

Up until now, the biggest barrier to entry for electronic payments in the U.S., according to a CGI report, was actually quite practical. For business-to-business (B2B) transactions, paper checks are typically issued with remittance details attached, and these details are a required component for many accounting and auditing processes.

Manual processes, and the legacy accounting systems that have sprung up to facilitate these processes, have all been built around paper checks and the data they contain. However, payment types like ACH (Automated Clearing House), virtual credit cards, and EFT (in Canada) have come a long way over the last few years. Now all the remittance data that currently travels through fax machines and in emails can be included with electronic payments.

Similarly, automation technology offers an alternative to the traditional payment process by bringing everything into the cloud and expediting key parts of the process. Not only does automation expedite approval process, by making the entire interaction digital, but it also cuts down on the time spent shuffling papers.

Right now, businesses in the U.S. are at a tipping point for B2B payments, where the benefits of adopting electronic payments and automating the payments process far outweighs any potential advantage of sticking to checks.

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