NVoicePay, putting the Pay in P2P (and why Banks don’t)

I recently had a chat with Karla Friede, CEO of NVoicePay. We talked about how the landscape is littered with failures in B2B payments and how many companies still use cheques to pay (according to her data, 75% of corporate payments in the U.S. are still by cheque.

Founded in 2009 as a Cloud payment hub, NVoicePay just does the payment piece- they don’t do workflow, or einvoicing, or even try and change the customers processes on back end. They started with ACH and have added electronic cheque and card payments. NVoicePay serves both the mid market and enterprise.
What makes them interesting is that the big hurdle in payments is less to do with technology but mostly the services surrounding it. In payments, someone has to enable the vendor to receive that payment. So you have to collect information from the supplier in terms of:

• What kind of payment they accept,
• How they want to accept them,
• Who the contact point is,
• If accepting ACH, the account number and routing number

And this information has to be maintained and managed. Banks are not good at that. Many companies have started different type of solutions, Amex with their Buyer Initiated Payments, or Europe’s Vpay direct debit. Some banks have pcard programs, but banks only set up a few suppliers to receive that pcard, so that leaves the corporate with only a few suppliers paid by a unique process. As different payment solutions multiply across the enterprise, a company must manage multiple payment processes.

Karla believes that ongoing enablement is the key to move payments to 100% electronic, whether paying a vendor by electronic cheque, ACH, or card. Her point is that end to end payment support is critical in a process that inevitably has errors. If you have four different flows (pcards, cheques, ACH, Fed wire) if something goes wrong, having multiple processes makes it more complicated to address. Hence many corporations continue writing cheques.

AribaPay is SAP/Ariba’s effort to enter the “pay” piece of the procurement value chain. For AribaPay to work, suppliers need to be on Ariba system and if they submit an invoice electronically, they can be paid by ACH or FedWire via Discover, who credits the supplier based on the merchant ID. It’s a basic starting point, but going in the right direction.

NVoicePay is a more holistic solution for enterprise payment that works in any environment – with any bank, any accounting system, and any payables workflow – to put the P where it belongs in P2P to deliver on the promise of electronic payments.

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