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B2B Payments

Glenbrook Research: Credit Card Acceptance for B2B Payments

At Glenbrook we believe that B2B payments are among the most compelling opportunities in the payment industry today. Card acceptance is growing, yet businesses lack the tools to efficiently process transactions.

My colleague Carol Coye Benson and I recently published the findings from a series of interviews with business-to-business suppliers about credit card acceptance that we conducted earlier this year. Our goal for this reasearch was to determine:

  • Whether they accept card payments from business buyers, how they think about this practice, and if they expect it to grow
  • How easy it is to apply the incoming card payments using the company’s ERP or accounting package receivables module
  • The supplier’s awareness of PCI-DSS and their compliance responsibilities
  • The extent to which they are interested in using Software as a Service (SaaS) ERP and accounting solutions

Our objective was to inform future research, rather than generate statistically valid results, so the sample size was relatively modest. Nevertheless, we believe that our discussions provide meaningful insight to the B2B payment marketplace, particularly with regard to card payments.

Key Findings:

It is difficult to find companies that accept cards for B2B  supplier payments. Card payments from consumers are far more prevalent.

Businesses are polarized when it comes to accepting card payments. They are either very positive (“Accelerate cash flow!”) or fiercely resistant (“No way, it’s too expensive!”)

The line between “card present” and “card not present” in the B2B environment is less clear than it is in a C2B environment. Questions of when the payment is initiated, and by whom, complicate participants’ understanding of the use of cards.

It is hard to overestimate the depth of ignorance about card processing on the part of B2B treasury and operations managers. “What’s a gateway?” “How can I even do that?”

Straight-through-processing (STP) of card payments remains an elusive goal. Companies struggle to integrate their systems in order to automatically apply card payments against open invoices in their receivables.

Business-to-business suppliers of all sizes are relatively unaware of PCI compliance. Even companies that accept cards and should be compliant, are not aware.

Small and mid-sized companies have embraced SaaS solutions more than large enterprises. Those that are using SaaS solutions are processing cards “efficiently and seamlessly.”

The research brief includes the full discussion of these findings as well as excerpts from our interviews with small, mid-sized, and large enterprises. We conclude by recommending specific opportunities for payments providers. Please complete this form to download a copy of our Credit Card Acceptance for B2B Payments research brief:


Contact either Carol or myself to share your feedback on these research findings or discuss B2B payments – via card or other tender types.

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11 years ago

Expensive card payments don’t really make sense for B2B payments which tend to be larger, recurring and with known counter-parties.

Anand Goel
11 years ago

our consulting practice has found b2b payments facilitated by credit cards to be rising rapidly. Companies who accept payments from their business customers see increased cash flow, a potential differentiation with their competitors (since not all b2b firms accept cards), and increased customer satisfaction (who doesn’t like earning points or rewards from credit cards). Cost of card acceptance is a true concern but firms whose margins can absorb the 2.0%-3.0% card processing fees will really benefit.

Rich Scarcella
11 years ago

We intend to bring inexpensive and innovative products to capture a large market share in the B2B environment. It is a market that has been neglected by the ISO and processing world that is more focused on retail consumer based solutions. Many companies in this market do not realize the value of accepting credit and debit cards because of what they believe to be high fees associated with the process, yet they dont realize how much they could be saving by being paid upfront and not having to factor receivables and then turn unpaid accounts over to collection attorneys for a major loss of revenue