What 2018 taught us about digital payments

In 2018, technology continued to disrupt and fundamentally change many industries, including the way we pay and conduct commerce. We’ve come to expect embedded payment that are seamless, immediate and reliable.

Remarkably, the deliberate action of making a payment has disappeared and been reinvented inside a digital experience. We see this reflected in new digital platforms with cloud-based wallets that enable immediate, one-tap, contactless or even voice-enabled payments. It’s all about user convenience.

Look no further than Uber or Alexa to see a frictionless commerce experience. Looking ahead, we expect business services and B2B players, as well as nonprofits, schools, and cities, to adopt the same ideals of convenience and efficiency with embedded payment and commerce solutions that are fast, secure and reliable.

Business payments reflect consumer digital experience

In 2019, the payments industry will deliver more options for the business services and B2B markets that mirror the solutions seen in retailers or restaurants. In these industries, state-of-the-art POS systems help manage workflows and have become commonplace. Digital consumer loyalty programs offer creative new avenues for customer engagement.

 

Options such as these are going to become more prevalent in business services this year, through a more seamless customer experience that improves customer engagement and quickens time to payment. The disparity between the quality of the consumer and business commerce experience will begin to shrink as the technology becomes available to address what has to date been an underserved B2B market.

Faster time to payment enables growth

PYMNTS.com reported last month on the findings of a recent survey demonstrating businesses’ move to a better payments experience. The study revealed that accountants handling business accounts value digital payments greatly: 70 percent cited faster payment processing and reconciling, 69 percent said it’s easier to use an all-digital system and 68 percent indicated digital payments allow them to handle payments anytime, anywhere.

Ease of use and a very real need for faster time to payment and reconciliation will help drive adoption of digital payments for the business-to-business market, as will the desire to provide a better, more efficient digital experience for customers. Streamlined financial processes will, in turn, allow businesses to invest in growth and innovation.

Better options for businesses

We think the business segments that will see the most profound changes in the coming year are the ones that have been underserved to date. These include wholesalers, distributors, non-profits, educational institutions, and local government, all of whom need modern solutions to process payments and drive growth.

At Paya, we’re already seeing change. Many manufacturers are digitizing invoices and allowing their buyers to use commercial cards and electronic payments. In school districts, parents have the option to manage student lunch and activities accounts through online platforms. Houses of worship are starting to do more than pass the hat to collect cash. Municipalities are allowing citizens to pay citations and utilities online, instead of going to city hall or mailing in a check. Each of these creates a more effective digital experience for consumers and improves processes for the business, nonprofit or municipality.

In 2019, business payments and commerce solutions will begin to catch up with the times. New technology will provide organizations with the resources and options they need to digitize commerce to improve customer experience, speed up cash flow, and transition from paper invoices and checks.

Sectors of the economy that have been left behind by the digital payment revolution will finally be brought into the fold, allowing business users to create streamlined payment experiences for every transaction–not only ones they make in restaurants and retail stores.

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