Small business pay is catching up, but there's still work to do

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The customer always comes first, and more than 30 million U.S. small- to medium-sized businesses are competing for that client relationship and sparking a wave of payment innovation.

We’re seeing more businesses employing contactless/unattended payment systems, SMBs rapidly adopting integrated business management software & payment solutions and accelerating adoption of electronic payments (vs. checks) for B2B transactions.

Large companies are also active, deploying contactless payments. Examples include self-service ordering kiosks in McDonald’s restaurants and the Amazon Go convenience stores where users scan their app and the items they choose are debited automatically from their accounts. Payments solutions, working in concert with complementary software and hardware at the point-of-sale (POS), are at the core of these evolving purchasing experiences and represent a growing trend across self-service retail and unattended payments.

SMBs are rapidly adopting business management software and integrated payments to enhance the consumer experience while driving productivity and efficiency in daily operations. Vagaro, for example, serves more than 40,000 SMBs delivering the perfect balance of value-added software (e.g. appointment booking, stylist calendars, CRM/notifications, email/text marketing, promotions, inventory mgt., etc.) and payments so SMBs can focus on growing their businesses and putting the customer first.

B2B payment trends are trying to catch up with B2C payment trends but are still lagging behind – half of the annual $20 trillion B2B transactions worldwide are still conducted through paper checks, representing one of the last great frontiers in payments.

In markets characterized by costly, manual/paper-based accounts payable (AP) workflows, like the U.S., AP software continues to achieve increasing adoption and represents an obvious partner for electronic payment methods like virtual cards (v-cards).

While vertical software/payments offers an analog for the potential impact value-add software and electronic payments can have here, one can’t lose sight of the greater nuances that coincide with managing successful card programs from an issuing perspective (e.g. vendor enrollment, funding accounts, etc.).

Yet, delivering the right value proposition for both buyers (operational efficiency) and suppliers (speed of funds, ease of workflow, data reconciliation) offers fertile ground for the next wave of great payments innovators.

Payments are all around us and the less often you think about them the better the system is working.

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