AFP Survey Finds US Corporates Still Making B2B Payments by Cheque

US companies cling to cheques as their main method of
business-to-business (B2B) payment, according to a report newly released by the
Association for Financial Professionals (AFP). However, the report demonstrates
that overall use of paper cheques is on the decline, while corporate interest
in mobile payments continues to grow. 


The 2013 AFP Electronic Payments
underwritten by JP Morgan Treasury Services, collected responses from more than
450 financial professionals in September 2013. Survey findings highlight
trends, identify best practices and reveal solutions for advancing automation
of B2B payments.  

Wire payments and automated clearing house (ACH)
payments are being adopted at a slower rate than in the recent past, as paper
checks now can be converted directly into images or ACH debits. Meanwhile, the
use of mobile payments at the corporate level is becoming increasingly popular,
providing US businesses with an expanding range of payment choices as they
migrate from paper to electronic methods.


“The typical organisation makes half its B2B payments
by cheque, down from 81% in 2004,” said Jim Kaitz, AFP’s president and chief
executive officer (CEO).  “AFP strongly supports electronic payments
[e-payments] and we’re pleased to see the payment innovations now available to
corporate treasurers.”

Respondents identified a number of reasons why
companies are often reluctant to adopt e-payment methods: 

  •  Eighty-two per cent experience difficulty convincing customers to pay electronically.
  •  Seventy-four per cent have difficulty convincing suppliers to accept e-payments.
  •  Seventy-one per cent found a shortage of IT resources for implementation.
  •  Seventy per cent have a lack of standard format for remittance information,
    with 66% acknowledging a lack of integration   between electronic payment and
    account systems 

“This year’s survey affirms the multitude of barriers
that practitioners face when attempting to adopt new e-payment trends,” said
Diane Quinn, managing director and global large corporate sales executive, JP
Morgan Treasury Services. “Practitioners who overcome these challenges and
break through the status quo of limited electronic payment adoption are well
positioned to achieve renewed growth, improved fraud control and efficiency

Additional findings highlight trends related to cross
currency payments and remittance preferences:

  • When making cross-currency payments, contractual requirements and the size/type
    of transaction are key considerations in selecting a payment method.
  • Email is the delivery method most frequently used to deliver and receive
    remittance information tied to organisations’ ACH payments. 
  • Seventy-eight per cent of organisations have integrated their ACH systems with
    accounting while 56% have done so for card payments.
  • A number of companies are evaluating use of mobile payment tools in the next
    three years in the following areas:

Reviewing payments sent or received (cited by 37% of respondents).

Reviewing balance and other payment information (37%).

Approving payments (36%).


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