Bankers from London to Tokyo are bemoaning the state of the industry, especially higher costs, more scrutiny, and the increasing amount of regulation. Pick up any financial newspaper and you can read statements from CEOs and other senior executives complaining about increasing capital ratios, trading limits, threats of walling off certain types of business, and the like.
What about the traditionally important—but increasingly competitive and regulated—field of B2B payments? Corporations and other users of payment and treasury products are demanding more value at lower cost. What does that mean for banks and other vendors of B2B payment services?
For one thing, in this economic environment, costs (and cost savings) are important. In order to succeed, B2B payment vendors must be either the lowest or among the lowest cost providers. But it does not stop there.
Corporate treasurers know that managing working capital is critical. Getting the right amount of money to the right party at the right time is more important than ever. Speed, operational accuracy, and consistency continue to top the list of B2B payment requirements.
There is demand for instant or real-time transaction capabilities, and an almost explicit rejection of the days (or even weeks) that cross-border payments used to (and still can) take. It is not uncommon to hear of B2B payments that take weeks to conclude, depending on the type of payment used.
In addition to other demands, there is increasing pressure to improve payments information—to make the transaction more comprehensive to those involved—resulting in more efficiency and transparency.
We live in a world of instantaneous information and gratification in many areas of life. We anticipate that this expectation of instant results will translate to business transactions, replete with immediacy of B2B payments and complete data relevant to the entire transaction.