You likely buy a lot of technology for your company. But how does your business pay for it? Today, thanks to fintech, there are more business-to-business (B2B) payment options than ever. It can be tricky to determine the best way for you and your company. Paper checks are tried-and-true but limiting, and new virtual solutions sound great, but how do you get started? You probably have more questions, so we created a checklist to help you weigh the pros and cons of the different B2B payment methods out there.
The good news is business payments are quickly becoming just as simple and convenient as the transactions you make in everyday life. No need to be weighed down by slow approvals, hidden costs, or unclear terms — but we’ll get to that.
The 6 Most Common B2B Payment Methods
Checks, both paper and electronic, make up more than half of all B2B payments. Thirty-two percent of organizations use checks more often than any other payment option. Despite that, it isn’t the method that businesses prefer. Checks have one of the lowest satisfaction ratings for companies.
Even so, businesses continue to rely on checks as a familiar and comfortable way to pay. However, there are glaring downsides. First, there are direct costs associated with checks, including envelopes, postage, and processing fees. In a recent survey, businesses estimated that it costs anywhere from $4 to $20 to issue a check. Those steep prices are what are leading businesses to implement other payment methods. They are also the method most commonly associated with payment fraud.
ACH payments (automated clearing house) are coordinated electronic money transfers moved between accounts. ACH is a cost-effective direct payment method that eliminates the wait time associated with paper checks, expediting the payment process. While most payment methods come with some security risks, ACH payments are more secure than most, as they are sent directly between parties, which reduces the chance of fraud.
EFT payments (electronic funds transfer) use electronic technology in place of sending paper checks. Also referred to as ePayments, EFT covers a wide range of payment methods, including ACH, wire transfers, and electronic checks.
Organizations can send and track EFT payments quickly, but many variables can influence the risk level and timeliness of the transaction. In most cases, you cannot stop an EFT payment after you have initiated it, which can result in overdrafts, bounced payments, and consequential fees.
Credit cards have become universal. The option to get goods or services upfront and pay in installments over time gives you the freedom to make the purchases you need while increasing sales for the businesses that accept these payments.
The issues that come along with credit cards are the ones you’ve heard of before: Fees can be quite high, and credit cards aren’t always secure. Unauthorized purchases can occur, and they can severely impact the card owner’s account. This is a common risk for those who use their personal credit card for business purchases. Behalf eliminates this risk by offering a single-use virtual card. The card number is generated at the point of transaction, and because virtual cards are only used once, it minimizes the risk of unauthorized transactions.
Purchasing cards or p-cards are used to buy equipment and to pay suppliers. Businesses use this payment method because they are credited immediately, and charges are consolidated at the end of each cycle. P-cards also come with assigned limits, which means you have more control over your spending. But just like credit cards, fraud, misuse, and hidden fees are commonplace.
In-Purchase Virtual Financing
Recently, in-purchase virtual financing, like Behalf, or Buy Now Pay Later solutions, have begun to emerge as a simpler, faster way for businesses to pay. In contrast to the limitations of traditional options, solutions such as Behalf provide quick and easy access to purchase what you need to run your business, on your terms, upon approval.
Flexible debit schedules, no fee NET, and 30-180 days of financing at a low, fixed fee* are just a few of the benefits upon approval.* With Behalf, your business may pay via a virtual card or an ACH transfer (depending on what the merchant accepts) to make purchases online, in-store, or over the phone.
We know how important it is to have access to working capital as a business owner. How you choose to pay will depend on your business’s specific needs and goals, but it’s important to know you have options. We hope this gives you a good place to start. And if you are interested in more information about our flexible and frictionless in-purchase financing options, click here.
* This article was contributed by Behalf, financing partners of NeweggBusiness.
**This post is for informational purposes only, not financial advice. Any reference to a web site of another party, does not constitute or imply endorsement.