TD Bank Launches B2B Electronic Payment Service

TD Bank launched a payments solution enabling its small business customers to make and customize electronic B2B payments today.

The service will be provided through payments company Bottomline Technologies‘ Paymode-X with Visa Payables Solutions.

“When it comes to SMB, the age-old problem is time,” Rick Burke, head of corporate products and services at TD Bank, told Bank Innovation. “The goal with Paymode-X is to take friction out of the payment process.”

The service, Burke explained, gives the customer “a lot of flexibility,” allowing them to choose the type of transaction: ACH, virtual cards or wire transfer. It also allows the payer to dictate when the vendor receives the payment, realtime or a more specific date and time.

“With migrating to electronic payments, there is some change in the value proposition for the customer,” Burke said. “We wanted the service to allow the payer to negotiate with the vendor by being able to pick the payment channel, and also to be able to say, ‘I don’t want my payment sent until I receive the merchandise.’ We wanted to give them that choice.”

The partnership with Bottomline Technologies will allow existing and new clients to use accounts payable (AP) payment automation, reduce costs and provide financial returns in the form of rebates. The bank will apply Bottomline’s proprietary Intelligent Engagement Model (IEM), to leverage data and provide the customer with predictive analytics and the ability to onboard vendors.

“Payments are becoming more about the experience,” Burke told Bank Innovation. “And in the commercial world checks are still an everyday activity with roughly speaking 50% of people still writing checks, because there are certain fundamental challenges in this space. With this service, we hope to address a large part of that challenge.”

Burke, who oversees the bank’s treasury management for corporate customers and its commercial depository and innovation initiatives, said he chooses innovation initiatives based on such customer pain points.

“Service is paramount to TD, and making our customer’s life easier,” Burke said. “In the commercial segment, instead of working with our customer on their payments needs, we need to work past them with their ERPs (Enterprise Resource Planning) organizations and practically deploy APIs, so that the customer can use it for their specific need.”

For example, Burke said:

We recognize a tremendous desire for self-service. But there is a line between self-service and customer service. Customers are happy with self-service until they are not happy, and then they become very unhappy. So, we have to be very very smart on how to gauge a customer’s level of tolerance for self-service and then to be able to provide a human case or solution before they reach that frustration point. That’s where we are spending time on the commercial and SMB space.

TD Bank’s Paymode-X with Visa Payables Solutions is a perfect example of this, Burke said, providing customers with self-service, but also the ability to customize it to their liking.

Paymode-X will be offered as a white-label capability to TD Bank SMB customers. The bank is also working on a creating a marketplace for vendors to build solutions on top of the product. Right now, Paymode-X only allows SMBs to pay vendors.

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