Do suppliers resist or refuse to accept your Virtual Card payments? If so, you are not alone. There are also suppliers who initially agree to Virtual Card acceptance, but later change their mind. A big underlying problem is a manual acceptance process. In addition, a growing list of Virtual Card-using customers can mean dozens of different systems for a supplier to access. The good news is you can expand your playbook for on-boarding suppliers by introducing them to a solution. Keep reading to learn more about supplier challenges and an available remedy.
I recently spoke with Nick Babinsky, Director, Business Development, with Billtrust, a provider of accounts receivable (AR) technology. He elaborated on the manual acceptance process that causes pain for many suppliers. A typical scenario starts with the supplier receiving an email notification about the Virtual Card payment. In some cases, a supplier’s AR staff has to click multiple URLs before reaching the applicable card account number. Then, to process the charge, AR manually keys the card account information. It does not end there, as AR needs to close the related invoices in their ERP system, which can also involve manual keying of remittance data. This type of process does not help a supplier in terms of card acceptance fees either.
Nick summed it up by relaying three common supplier objections to Virtual Card acceptance:
- We don’t have staff available to key any more Virtual Cards or P-Cards that come by email.
- We’re concerned about the security of manually handling credit card numbers.
- The cost of accepting card payments is too high.
Billtrust’s Virtual Card Capture solution addresses the pain points noted above. Nick conveyed that it:
- eliminates the need to enter a card number into a terminal
- can automatically apply remittance information in the supplier’s ERP system (the solution also supports remittance pertaining to straight-through payments/push payments)
- helps a supplier qualify for Level 3 and Large Ticket interchange rates
Of course, my immediate question was, “How does it work with the emails a supplier receives (pertaining to Virtual Card payments)?” The answer: Through the utilization of robotic process automation (RPA). The emails are re-routed to the Billtrust solution and RPA takes over.
According to the Institute for Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence (IRPA AI), “Robotic process automation (RPA) is the application of technology that allows employees in a company to configure computer software or a ‘robot’ to capture and interpret existing applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses and communicating with other digital systems.”
Overall, between the technology and a Billtrust team who handles exceptions, a supplier’s pain is alleviated.
How the Solution Affects You
As an end-user/buying organization, you can feel confident that your Virtual Card payments to suppliers who use the Billtrust solution will be processed in a timely manner (specifically, on the same business day they are sent). No more calls or emails about the Virtual Card not working because the supplier waited too long.
Final Thoughts: What You Can Do
To strengthen your partnership with suppliers:
- Talk with them about their challenges related to Virtual Card acceptance.
- Consider sharing the Billtrust case study.
- Contact your provider for any suggestions they have about easing supplier challenges.
- Ensure that, at a minimum, you are initiating payments to suppliers quickly, ideally less than 30 days (e.g, within 10 days of invoice receipt).
About the Author
Blog post author Lynn Larson, CPCP, is the founder of Recharged Education. With more than 15 years of Commercial Card experience, her mission is to make industry education readily accessible to all. Learn more…
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