Comparing B2B Payment Methods: A Checklist
Business owners — how do you choose to pay for business expenses? Right now, with so many B2B payment methods available, it can be tricky to determine which are best 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?
There’s a lot to think through, so we created a checklist to help you weigh the pros and cons of all the 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’s leading businesses to implement other payment methods.
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. It’s rare to find someone without a credit card, and most people have more than one.
Credit cards allow you to purchase products or services upfront, even if you don’t have the necessary funds in the moment. The option to pay in installments over time gives you the freedom to make the purchases you need, while increasing sales for the businesses who 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, however, eliminates the 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, fewer vendors have the number, reducing 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.
On-Demand Virtual Financing
Recently, on-demand virtual financing solutions, like Behalf, 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.
Flexible payment schedules, no fee net terms, and 30-180 days of financing at a low, fixed rate* are just a few of the benefits upon approval. With Behalf, you 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.
So there you have it! How you choose to pay will depend on your business’ specific needs and goals. We hope this gives you a good place to start.
We know how important it is to have access to working capital as a business owner. Find out more about our flexible and frictionless financing options.
*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.