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Written by Cyndie Martini
on September 06, 2022

B2B (business-2-business) payments have been stuck using older methods for some time compared to B2C (business-2-consumer). In recent years though, new methods have been adopted in the B2B world. These newer methods are bringing better efficiencies to B2B payments. But it is a slow turn as many businesses are reluctant to change. 

Digital payment implementations are sweeping across B2B payments. Gartner says that by 2025, 80 percent of B2B (buyers/suppliers) will occur in digital channels. This shift will bring speed and overall improvements to B2B payments. If digital payments greatly improve B2B transactions, why are businesses so reluctant to adopt them?

There are several reasons. One is the cost of implementing new payment systems. It’s not only software costs but also staff training. Additionally, businesses can experience downtime during this change. At the least, they may end up duplicating work as transactions are recorded on paper and the new digital payment system.

Many businesses have discovered there is a middle ground. Rather than flipping a switch from older payment methods to newer ones, a hybrid approach can prove cost-effective.

Fully automating AR/AP means moving away from paper, including paper checks. However, those who don’t want to move away from checks can utilize services that digitize paper checks, providing increased efficiencies over companies that must manually process paper checks. But such halfway solutions will keep paper checks in the mix for a long time.

In fact, pymnts.com found that 81 percent of U.S. B2B payments in 2004 used paper checks. Its March 2020 PYMNTS playbook found that the number was still stubbornly high at 81 percent. Also, the transaction dollar amount of paper check payments have been increasing.

Although checks are viewed as a trusted payment method, their costs are high, and many companies are looking to transition away. But that transition appears to be an extremely slow one.

 

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