Want AP automation to pay both businesses and consumers?

December 15, 2021

Here’s what you need to look for in an invoice-to-pay and refund solution.

Digital Bridge eBook

Most organizations today understand the value of reducing the number of checks they issue and automating accounts payable (A/P). Digital payments can reduce A/P costs and customer service call volume related to check payments.

In addition, digital payments are significantly more secure. But when it comes to selecting the right automation solution for all their outbound payments, organizations making regular payments to both businesses and consumers need to ask about several key capabilities:

Does the solution offer a mix of business-to-business (B2B) and consumer payment methods that includes both digital and traditional options?

Is enrollment easy? Are payments issued quickly?

  • Does the solution offer multiple ERP integration options? 
  • Does it offer application programming interface (API) based account verification? 
  • Is supplier and consumer payee information securely stored, and how is that done?

 

A modern digital payment experience for consumers

An organization that regularly pays both businesses and consumers can burnish its brand by offering its consumer payees the type of modern digital payment experience they have come to expect.

“Organizations can strengthen brand loyalty by mirroring the convenience that consumers have come to expect from peer-to-peer payments.”

For starters, the ideal solution for such an organization offers consumers a choice of how they will receive their payments. The solution will allow payees to select from convenient electronic payment methods including Automated Clearing House (ACH), Zelle®, RTP®, push to debit card and digital wallets, as well as traditional payment methods like checks and prepaid cards.

 

Simple enrollment and rapid payment

The process should be simple for payees. They should be able to just log into a secure payment portal with your company’s branding, choose a payment method, and quickly receive payment — in some cases, instantly. Organizations can strengthen brand loyalty by mirroring the convenience that consumers have come to expect from peer-to-peer payments.

 

Integration flexibility

Many leading banks are beginning to deliver both business-to-consumer (B2C) and B2B payment automation capabilities with a single integration to the bank, says Anuradha Somani, Head of Payments, Global Treasury Management at U.S. Bank. “Emerging payment automation solutions can offer integration through a single file that combines both B2C and B2B payments, or through a series of API calls,” she explains.

An ideal A/P solution will offer integration flexibility. A business payer should be able to provide its bank a consolidated B2B and B2C payment instruction file, send separate files if that’s easier, or execute the integration using a type of API known as an “ERP connector.”

An organization’s choice of either file-based or API integration will often depend upon its ERP system, according to Somani. “ERP connectors offer more of a plug-and-play integration, but a given A/P automation solution may not have a connector available for the ERP system the organization uses,” she says.

Learn more about how to transform your invoice-to-pay process with AP Optimizer.

 

Streamlined API account verification

Validating the accuracy of consumer information is paramount. A premium payment automation solution will offer the payer account verification using APIs. 

APIs can expedite this process by acting as digital messengers. For example, they can relay that a consumer who selects the Zelle payment option and provides a phone number or email address is registered with the Zelle Network. Similarly, APIs can be used to verify that the banking information a business or a consumer provided to accept an ACH or RTP payment is accurate, and the designated account is active. This not only will reduce returns but acts as a significant way to mitigate the risk of business email compromise.

 

Secure storage of payee account information

In adopting an invoice-to-pay and refund solution that includes both B2B and B2C payment capabilities, an organization also needs to secure the consumer’s banking information to protect against data breaches and potential reputational risk. A good way to do that is to opt for a bank solution with an API that will securely store and tokenize that information to keep it hidden from fraudsters.

 

If your organization regularly makes payments to both businesses and consumers and you want to learn how A/P automation can simplify the process, contact a U.S. Bank Treasury Management consultant.

Zelle® and Zelle®-related marks and logos are property of Early Warning Services, LLC. 

RTP® is a registered service mark of The Clearing House Payments Company L.L.C.

Related content

Can faster payments mean better payments?

3 ways to make practical use of real-time payments

Enhancing the patient experience through people-centered payments

Banking connectivity: Helping businesses deliver the easier, faster, more secure customer experience of the future

A simple guide to set up your online ordering restaurant

Instant Payments: Accelerating treasury disruption

Make holiday gift giving easier in a digital world

Escheatment resources: Reporting deadlines for all 50 states

P2P payments make it easier to split the tab

Role of complementary new channels in your payments strategy

Crack the Swift code for sending international wires

ABCs of APIs: Drive treasury efficiency with real-time connectivity

The secret to successful service provider integration

Benefits of billing foreign customers in their own currency

Improve government payments with electronic billing platforms

The AI journey in finance: How to make it part of your strategy

Blockchain: Separating hype from substance

Payment industry trends that are the future of POS

5 Ways to protect your government agency from payment fraud

Government agency credit card programs and PCI compliance

3 benefits of integrated payments in healthcare

White Castle optimizes payment transactions

Webinar: CSM corporation re-thinks AP

Drive digital transformation with payments innovation

Unexpected cost savings may be hiding in your payment strategy

Want AP automation to pay both businesses and consumers?

Ways prepaid cards disburse government funds to the unbanked

Three healthcare payment trends that will continue to matter in 2022

ePOS cash register training tips and tricks

Restaurant surveys show changing customer payment preferences

Restaurant surveys show changing customer payment preferences

Increase working capital with Commercial Card Optimization

Modernizing fare payment without leaving any riders behind

4 benefits to paying foreign suppliers in their own currency

Tap-to-pay: Modernizing fare payments pays off for transit agencies and riders

Understanding and preparing for the new payment experience

How Everyday Funding can improve cash flow

4 ways Request for Payments (RfP) changes consumer bill pay

Access, flexibility and simplicity: How governments can modernize payments to help their citizens

Automate accounts payable to optimize revenue and payments

Automate escheatment for accounts payable to save time and money

Cashless business pros and cons: Should you make the switch?

Higher education and the cashless society: Latest trends

How to improve digital payments security for your health system

Finance or operating lease? Deciphering the legalese of equipment finance

Empowering managers with data automation and integration

Treasury management innovations earn Model Bank awards

Overcoming the 3 key challenges of a lump sum relocation program

How to accept credit cards online

How real-time inventory visibility can boost retail margins

When your spouse has passed away: A three-month financial checklist

6 timely reasons to integrate your receivables

Webinar: CRE technology trends

Managing the rising costs of payment acceptance with service fees

Safeguarding the payment experience through contactless

COVID-19 safety recommendations: Are you ready to reopen?

What corporate treasurers need to know about Virtual Account Management

Buying or leasing? Questions to ask before signing a contract

How jumbo loans can help home buyers and your builder business

How to apply for a business credit card

Rethinking common time management tips

Checklist: What you’ll need for your first retail pop-up shop

Why ecommerce for small business strategy is integral

Streamline operations with all-in-one small business financial support

3 ways to gain loyalty with your customers

How running a business that aligns with core values is paying off

Meet the Milwaukee businessman behind Funky Fresh Spring Rolls

Dear Money Mentor: How do I begin paying off credit card debt?

3 awkward situations Zelle can help avoid

How to save money in college: easy ways to spend less

Top 3 ways digital payments can transform the patient experience

Hospitals face cybersecurity risks in surprising new ways

Webinar: AP automation for commercial real estate

Myth vs. truth: What affects your credit score?

Dear Money Mentor: How do I set and track financial goals?

How AI in treasury management is transforming finance

How mobile point of sale (mPOS) can benefit your side gig

Webinar: Robotic process automation

Enhancing the patient experience through people-centered payments

Digital trends poised to reshape hotel payments

Unexpected cost savings may be hiding in your payment strategy

Colleges respond to student needs by offering digital payments

How Everyday Funding can improve cash flow

Disclosures

Start of disclosure content

Loan approval is subject to credit approval and program guidelines. Not all loan programs are available in all states for all loan amounts. Interest rate and program terms are subject to change without notice. Mortgage, Home Equity and Credit products are offered through U.S. Bank National Association. Deposit products are offered through U.S. Bank National Association. Member FDIC.