Remote work makes integrated payments more important than ever
As companies were forced to abandon their offices with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, many businesses that relied on physical payments were suddenly left without the means to efficiently process transactions.
With timely cash flow (A/R) now at risk, it has become imperative for companies operating remotely to digitally process and reconcile their payments. In this environment, integrated payments have rapidly become critical to maintaining, and in some cases improving, operational stability.
As a result, organizations across a range of industries are quickly shifting toward a variety of electronic payment options that help businesses keep staff and customers safe, while supporting revenue assurance and reducing time and labor costs.
Through the pandemic, a number of industries experienced firsthand the value of integrated payments. For instance, when the pandemic first hit, cities and municipalities scrambled to move all of their typical operations – from managing utilities payments to the processing of local licenses – to a remote format.
They also found themselves facing potential cash flow issues and in need of new communications channels to keep citizens updated on civic issues and the local pandemic response. Municipalities were able to solve these issues by partnering with integrated payments providers to manage live customer service call centers, secure contactless kiosks, and quickly collect and reconcile utility payments all in one place.
Nonprofits faced similar issues with donation continuity, compounded by an overwhelming increase in demand for food pantry services and financial assistance during this time. In response to these new constraints, we have seen nonprofits and faith-based organizations rapidly adopt and increase their usage of integrated payments. Pre-COVID, the growth rate of online charitable giving within nonprofits held steady in the low teens; six months into the crisis, this figure has spiked to over 30%. This uptick is in part due to more nonprofits adopting electronic giving, as well as greater usage within organizations that already had this capability.
On the B2B side, industries are accelerating their transition away from traditional mailed invoicing or non-integrated payment methods that require manual deposits, data entry, and reconciliation. For example, our construction and contracting sector nearly doubled integrated payments transaction volume in the period between February and July.
The supply chain and B2B demand, fueled by the surge of home improvement projects as people remained at home, remained operational in part due to the efficiency of integrated payments, which can be accepted and managed virtually. Integrated payments platforms helped these companies continue operations, taking out the need for manual reconciliation of payments and ultimately saving valuable time and labor costs.
The landscape for integrated payments has shifted dramatically as a result of COVID-19. While before the pandemic, adoption of these platforms was a valuable investment for the future. In the six months since its onset, integrated payments have proven absolutely essential to organizations’ ability to seamlessly conduct day-to-day operations, and to maintain their growth trajectory long after the pandemic subsides.