Commercial Payment International Europe 2023

Commercial Payment International Europe 2023

Gregoire Toussaint
May 3, 2023

Gregoire Toussaint (Director, Paris) moderated a first panel discussion on the use of virtual cards in corporate travel and B2B payments at Commercial Payment International (CPI) Europe 2023 on 28-29 March 2023 in London

The four panellists Francesco Cerlienco (EMEA Head of Commercial Cards Product at Citi), Michelle Hejtmankova (Product Lead Commercial Issuing at Barclaycard), Clive Cornelius (Head of T&E and Procurement at Visa Business Solutions Europe) and Martyn Lock (Head of Cards & Money Movement Europe at FIS) first focused on the main use cases related to virtual cards: corporate travel both for B2B travel and for T&E (Travel & Expense) and also for B2B (payments between companies), highlighting the huge untapped potential for B2B payments

The panel discussion then focused on the benefits associated to virtual cards with increased control and flexibility for corporates. It is relevant for both corporates and issuers to take into account key success factors (e.g. education, explanation of key benefits to corporates, flexibility regarding pricing, integration with existing systems) to ensure virtual cards can deliver expected benefits

There are still many hurdles for virtual cards to become mainstream (e.g. lack of a wide acceptance network, lack of education regarding the benefits of virtual cards) and the panel highlighted the lack of integration with existing systems as a key aspect for the industry to improve. Payment providers should ensure virtual card solutions should be integrated with corporates’ existing systems (e.g. mobile wallets, straight through processing, embedded in current workflows for both AP – Accounts Payable and AR – Accounts Receivable, integration with procure-to-pay platforms)

The panel also highlighted the potential of virtual cards related to embedded finance and embedded payments. Virtual cards can be embedded in non-financial processes to facilitate trade and provide significant benefits

When looking at the future, it was concluded education is a key aspect to explain the benefits and issues virtual cards can solve. Focusing on key verticals and specific applications is also part of the solution to drive further the usage of virtual cards

Gregoire also moderated a second panel discussion focused on B2B e-commerce and B2B marketplaces

The three panellists Thomas Farran (Head of Payments at Covento), Helena Forest (Head of Product EMEA Marketplace Solutions, Payments & Commerce Solutions at J.P. Morgan) and Johanna Waara (Head of Commercial Solutions Europe at Mastercard) focused on the development of B2B e-commerce driven by the digitalisation of businesses and further accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The digital transformation of businesses has created a greater focus to create new sales and distribution channels and B2B e-commerce has significantly developed in the past few years

The panel discussion then focused on the specificities of B2B e-commerce vs. B2C e-commerce. There is increased complexity with, for instance, the need to have specific workflows to handle invoices, the importance of specific payment methods for B2B transactions such as bank transfers, direct debit, payments cards, and a greater focus on reconciliation for buyers

When considering B2B marketplaces, the specificities are even greater with the need for KYB (Know Your Business) and reconciliation for both buyers and sellers and the requirement to segregate funds. With the digitalisation of businesses (e.g. businesses connecting wholesalers and end clients), B2B marketplaces represent a significant opportunity in the future

This digitalisation of trade reflects a change in how businesses conduct trade and manage their AP and AR, including payments. These changes will be supported by the emergence of platforms / ecosystems increasingly linking businesses and it is expected B2B e-commerce and B2B marketplaces will continue to grow significantly in the coming years

Gregoire Toussaint is EDC’s Practice Lead regarding B2B and commercial payments. Please contact Gregoire if you want to discuss further B2B payments or if you have specific consulting needs

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