Technology adoption has come a long way in the B2B payments space since the 2000s, moving from checks to credit cards to web and cloud. Mobile payments for B2B payment needs has seen a slow adoption over the past several years. Mobile payments in the consumer space has been gaining massive traction, especially with the incubation of Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, PayTM, and the like. This trend and the demand prompted companies like Facebook to provide payment solutions which are easier and more convenient for consumers. The effect of this trend in the consumer space is slowly changing the landscape of the B2B payments space. Users who are using their mobile devices for payments as a consumer are starting to expect the same level of convenience for their enterprise payments.
“Convenience as a Service”
The consumer space has seen a steep increase in mobile adoption for payments and banking needs because it is convenient for users and super accessible. As more and more consumers get comfortable using mobile phone for their payments needs like paying bills and transferring money to their friends, their desire for the same flexibility for their B2B payments will inevitably grow.
A survey in 2016 reported that 45% of executives said that adoption of mobile payments applications by businesses was slower than expected, although according to recent research by Raddon Research Insights, 52% of small businesses rely on mobile banking for day-to-day account access1. Clearly, there is a maturing shift in the adoption of mobile devices for financial needs in the enterprise segment.
The early adopters for B2B payments are typically small business owners who are mostly on the go trying to expand their business, but at the same time making sure not to compromise timely payments to their vendors or suppliers. The other segment of early adopters could be treasury managers or executives who sit higher up in the corporate ladder who have the responsibility of approving outgoing payments. They would want to approve their payments and invoices for their suppliers even when they are on the go. The end result is that they are basically taking advantage of technologies which are convenient to use and make their lives easier.
ASA for mobile adoption
The biggest drivers around adopting mobile for B2B payments will be concerns about security, a convenient way to approve payments and getting prompt alerts that require their action or help them make decisions. An employers’ major concern for allowing or encouraging their employees use of mobile devices for B2B payments is security: they are intensely worried about their transactions being intercepted by unauthorized persons, what could happen when a phone is stolen, and the cutting-edge cyber threats. Introducing and adapting to state-or-the-art security protocols and taking advantage of the security models provided by the mobile operating systems without compromising the customer experience becomes crucial to tackling these concerns.
Payments approval is another critical area that enterprise users need, especially since small business owners and treasury managers who are on the move expect to approve payments to their suppliers without any delay.
Providing smart market alerts catered to the users of mobile phones is a key area that will instigate mobile adoption for B2B payments: it may be currency fluctuations for cross-border payments, or updates on disruptive market developments, which might have positive or negative impacts for the users. These notifications will help them make smarter decisions.
Adopting the latest technologies and providing a supreme customer experience without compromising on the key areas mentioned is going to be critical to becoming a successful player in this area. The next two years will likely see a staggering growth of mobile devices engagement in the B2B payments space across different segments of users.
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