The corporate disbursement market has long resisted reform, with more than half of U.S. consumers receiving at least one corporate payout via cash or check each year, according to Aite Group.
Though companies are well aware of speedier payment options, they tend to stick with slow, costly paper processes to skirt the need to collect bank account data from recipients, said Greg Bloh, president of Chattanooga, Tenn.-based payment processor TransCard LLC.
Bloh says he’s hit on a solution to the problem with Paynuver, a white-label approach that brings consumers deeper into the process by offering them a portal to pull the funds out.
“Instead of the payer integrating with the recipient’s details to send funds, the funds go to our portal, where consumers have a range of options for how they’d like to receive it,” Bloh said. “It’s much faster, more efficient, and it puts consumers in control.”
TransCard studied the corporate reimbursement market for more than two years to develop the self-serve platform called Paynuver, designed for corporations disbursing payments like one-time insurance settlements, rebates and other funds.
Corporate disbursements, which exceed 1.9 billion annually, include about 20 types of payments and total roughly $5.8 trillion, according to a December 2015 Aite study.
Federal and state tax refunds represent the largest chunk of disbursements. And there’s downward pressure on checks, with business-to-consumer check payments declining 16% between 2009 and 2012. But corporations still account for 995 million payments adding up to $3.6 trillion, Aite said.
“Business-to-consumer disbursements are one of the last payment segments to fully adopt electronic payments,” said Talie Baker, a senior Aite analyst, in the report.
With Paynuver, consumers expecting a corporate disbursement receive an email notification from the payer, via Paynuver, alerting them of available funds. The email directs consumers to TransCard’s Paynuver portal, where they select how they want to get paid.
Paynuver supports all types of payments, including ACH and or a check, if the consumer prefers it. But the most popular approach is a virtual prepaid card account, according to Bloh, based on early feedback since TransCard began testing the product in January.
“Given the choice, most recipients would rather get a virtual account number so they can spend the funds immediately,” Bloh said.
Checks also are quickly losing popularity, especially with younger adults, according to Bloh. However, with rising publicity around payments fraud, many consumers are reluctant to share their bank account details, even for business-to-consumer payments, he said.
Paynuver’s major advantage for payers is cost savings, Bloh said. The cost of a typical corporate disbursement payment via check is between $3 and $4, while ACH transactions cost 50 cents or more, Bloh said.
Paynuver’s approach reduces the cost of individual disbursements to a few cents or less, based on various factors including interchange rates for payment cards, he said.
Acting as the processor and program manager, TransCard provides prepaid card accounts through its relationships with banks, plus Visa, MasterCard and Discover. The company supports reloadable prepaid cards including payroll, gift, incentive and virtual cards, Bloh said.
The other twist Paynuver brings to the corporate disbursement payments process is richer details about the payment itself. These details are usually lacking in paper-based corporate disbursement processes, according to Bloh.
“Instead of getting a mysterious check or ACH deposit, Paynuver includes full details of the purpose and amount of the payment, whether it’s an explanation of benefits, a pay stub or a receipt,” Bloh said. This reduces additional costs to payers by eliminating many questions and calls to track and explain each payment, he said.
For insurance payouts, Paynuver supports electronic signatures in cases where a mortgage insurer and a homeowner both must sign to release the funds. “We think the workflow we’ve built into Paynuver for electronic signatures is novel and will reduce a huge amount of costs involved in finalizing insurance payments in particular,” he said.
Paynuver works with payers’ existing disbursement payment systems, according to Bloh. Payers provide TransCard with the recipient’s email address from the payer, and business rules enable Paynuver to establish default processes in case the consumer can’t access email.
“We provide options for recipients to receive texts, and we can notify them of their payment status through six emails and three cell phone numbers, if needed,” Bloh adds.
Paynuver also provides an opportunity for financial institutions to cross-sell corporate disbursement services to business clients, Bloh suggests. TransCard provides prepaid card programs to more than 250 U.S. financial institutions through partnerships with the American Bankers Association and Jack Henry & Associates.
“Virtual prepaid accounts are continuing to evolve, and we see a lot of opportunity for them to solve problems like business-to-consumer payments,” Bloh said.