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An update on Mastercard Track Business Payment Service & B2B Payments

12/10/2020 By

“We see every single invoice rendered by a supplier sent to a buyer as an opportunity for a better outcome for both buyer and supplier. That is a foundational principle.” — James Anderson, Executive Vice President, Commercial Products, Mastercard

When I first heard of Mastercard Track Business Payment Service a few years ago, it caught my eye as Mastercard realized that not all B2B payments were going to go on a card.

Mastercard launched Track in 2018 as a trade platform to address identity, compliance and payment management needs.

The initiative was driven out of the Enterprise Partnerships group with a focus on expanding Mastercard’s presence in the B2B payments world by addressing three problems in the Buyer-Supplier relationship:

  1. Identity: Easier supplier onboarding
  2. Data: Create the ability for richer data exchanges
  3. Payment Efficiency: Lowest cost rail given supplier preference

Mastercard Track Business Payment Service started by wanting to make the screening and onboarding of suppliers more efficient. This was both an ambitious and expensive project. My first thought was geez, another KYC tool in a space that was becoming increasingly crowded. My second thought was around the quality of the supplier data, particularly for the varied onboarding needs of banks, fintechs, payment agents and others. Standards for these different actors go from relatively lite (very lite) to extensive (banks and their requirements for beneficial ownership rules, etc.).

During that time, Mastercard had announced relationships with a number of source-to-pay and procure-to-pay solution providers — Basware, BirchStreet, Coupa — to name a few. The goal was to be a single point of contact for the data contained within all these networks, plus data on suppliers outside the network.

For the Spend Matters PRO, I caught up with James Anderson, the guy from the quote above who labels himself as a “swing for the fences” guy. James took over commercial two years ago with a mandate to grow the B2B business. Coming from the consumer side of Mastercard, he was surprised at how low-tech and manual B2B payments and AP were.

We discussed how he transitioned the initial start of Track to center on payments and the data around payments. Mastercard was trying to address payments from a card network approach, and James said this would not work at scale. James decided to flip the narrative, and focus on developing Mastercard Track Business Payment Service to support payments, not a separate business in and of itself. Mastercard Track Business Payment Service was not going to be another KYC tool, but a database of supplier payment preferences to deal with the massive complexity intrinsic to B2B transactions and payments.

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