Will AribaPay Evolve Into a Platform Standard for Payments?


At Ariba LIVE earlier this month, it was mentioned that T-Mobile has done $8 billion in payments to more than 1,000 suppliers through AribaPay – an impressive set of numbers for a single project - especially given that AribaPay was released back in July 2014 (well re-released is perhaps a better term since it was originally announced back in May of 2013).

AribaPay is separate from the rest of the Ariba suite and serves as a standalone (yet integrated) payments module that leverages Discover’s payments infrastructure (“rails” in card speak) to provide transparency and visibility into the payment process from both the seller and buyer perspective. AribaPay is embedded as an option in the Ariba Network to complete the procure-to-pay cycle.

Here are a few key of AribaPay’s features:

  • All of the historical information associated with the payment is available on the Ariba Network including the full invoice information, the PO and contract information associated with the payment (when present)
  • Suppliers maintain bank account details in the Discover Network infrastructure, and any changes in bank accounts are managed there.
  • All buyers and sellers rely on Discover´s integration into the Ariba Network for bank account management, eliminating the need to send, maintaining or updating the account information with several trading partners

Ariba and Discover also have future plans for AribaPay (based on Ariba’s “innovation roadmap,” announced at the event. These initiatives include improving supplier onboarding and opening payment APIs in order to have more banking partners.

Given Discover is a bank, it brings much tighter security and compliance aspects around payments than traditional technology vendors. Discover also handles bank account verification and provides remittance details. While the relationship to date is strictly to support payments, again because Discover is a bank and raises deposits via savings and Money fund accounts, it can also bring capital to do supply chain finance.

Spend Matters believes that payments are traditionally a blackhole in the source-to-pay sector. For example, remittance data to help reconcile payments, of course, does not come with checks, so any information must be mailed, emailed or faxed. Although the application of cash sounds straightforward, it is particularly complex in business-to-business (B2B) transactions. It is rare that a single B2B payment represents a single invoice and is paid for the exact amount invoiced. For many companies, this is a time consuming and costly manual process.

Anything Ariba can do to provide better visibility once an invoice is approved to pay is a benefit – on multilpe levels – for buyers and suppliers. But ultimately, how payments (and onboarding) tie into pcards, dynamic discounting and supply chain finance offerings either offered by Ariba or future partners will be of greater interest than the current instantiation of AribaPay alone.  We hope to see more AribaPay case studies in the future, especially since the take up of the solution (beyond T-Mobile) has been very slow since the solution was announced two years ago.  We'll let you know as soon as there's more to report here.

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