How AI Is Poised To Revolutionise Online B2B Payments
By Vanita Arora
Digital payments have been around for quite a while, but the trend does not seem to have caught up in the B2B domain. However, the future looks bright as an estimate by CB Insights suggests that the B2B payments market will be a multi-trillion dollar business by the end of 2021.
In fact, leading payment providers and fintech companies are already making moves to simplify B2B payments. However, the growth comes at a slow pace, mostly because small and medium businesses (SMEs) depend on obsolete technologies and analogue procedures.
Fortunately, technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are emerging as key drivers for the digital payment movement, all set to drive innovation by eliminating inefficiencies and repetitive administrative tasks.
Before digging deeper into the growing role of AI in the digital payments landscape, it makes sense to understand what the technology is all about and how businesses leverage it to modernise their processes. Let us explain AI innovation and its increasing involvement in business transactions. Many top software companies are here to provide the best AI solution.
Business evolution with AI
As organisations move towards digitisation, AI emerges as a significant technology for them. It simplifies complex tasks and automates them, driving better experiences while reducing human dependency and cost.
AI-powered chatbots are the cornerstone of B2B purchases right now. These smart virtual assistants help buyers navigate through their shopping journeys and close them with easy and secure payments. B2B vendors consider AI-enabled bots as a big boon for they improve procurement efficiency, expedite processing, and diminish errors.
Further, integrating AI into the call centre IVR can create a conversational chatbot that works in real-time to help agents and customers secure the benefits of automation. These tools enable the utilisation of AI to automate and simplify the sophisticated B2B processes in more than one way.
The AI breakthrough for B2B payments
The payments industry has come a long way in the past few years. Manual transactions and legacy systems ruled the scene until a short while ago, but AI-enabled solutions were a breakthrough.
The technology has now become an integral part of the tech infrastructure for leading fintech players. AI-powered chatbots are game-changers as they ease and automate the B2B acquisition process.
Businesses end up saving time on tasks such as generating invoices, providing the right details to the buyers, seeking substitutes for customers, fraud detection and more. AI also has the potential to transform both online and offline transactions, resulting in tighter security and better conversion rates.
Looking at the bigger picture, we can say with certainty that this technology can strengthen the industry as a whole, by consolidating areas such as operational performance, risk mitigation, and growth and innovation.
How does AI simplify and streamline B2B payments?
Now that you understand the role of AI in empowering a digital breakthrough for B2B payments, you will want to have a better view of the benefits it delivers. The future looks promising as this technology is all set to change the way businesses will handle financial management, regardless of their size and scale of operations.
Here are some ways you can expect it to simplify and streamline B2B payments in the future.
1. Automation of accounts payable:
Before the emergence of AI in the B2B payment landscape, businesses couldn’t achieve full automation of the payment process. They still had to use paper invoices and checks, and manually file, reconcile, and report payments.
Thankfully, AI adoption has taken things in the right direction as it helps with the complete automation of systems. An added benefit is that it’s environment friendly, and reduces the use of paper.
With artificial intelligence, businesses can eliminate redundant steps while reducing the cost and time of processing payments. It also curbs the risk of manual errors, which are most likely to happen at some point when humans handle payments.
Automated systems even reduce the workload of financial or accounting departments by handling routine processing so that they can focus on issues with invoices or transactions.
2. Fraud detection and prevention:
Despite the adoption of high-end technologies, cybercrime and fraud is a challenge that digital payment processes face more often than not. They come across frauds and security issues in different forms.
For example, redirect cash transfers are a common issue that businesses experience. It happens when a hacker tricks the system into transferring funds into a fraudulent account instead of the genuine account of the vendor. AI can go a long way in helping businesses with fraud detection and prevention.
AI-based fraud solutions can automate accounts receivable processes. Further, they can also help with the encryption of customer and vendor data. Advanced fraud solutions integrate machine learning to pinpoint specific risk indicators in real-time and uncover unusual patterns or behaviours that humans often miss out on.
3. Improved access to credit:
Another advantage of AI adoption for B2B payments is that it empowers businesses to get funds easily and painlessly.
Assessing the creditworthiness of a potential client has always been a challenge for traditional financial institutions due to factors like lack of financial data, poor credit ratings, and difficulty in predicting their cash flow.
AI-based credit scoring has changed the picture by resolving this challenge.
B2B providers can now conduct a comprehensive assessment of businesses without manual intervention. Automation clears any biased decisions on data. It is easier to get a more accurate credit assessment, which curbs the risk of late or overdue payments and even bad debts.
4. Fusion with social media:
‘Conversational commerce’ is quite a new term in the fintech environment. However, it isn’t just a concept anymore. Giants like Facebook, Amazon, and Alibaba are now implementing AI to integrate payments within their messaging applications.
Doing so provides customers with all sorts of functionalities, like getting customer support, reading reviews, filing complaints, looking for recommendations, asking questions, and even making payments from the messaging app itself.
With the rapid development in AI technology, the day isn’t far when the line between a human agent and an AI chatbot is nothing but a blur. Organisations are already developing AI that will let customers make payments by using only their voice and no other interaction.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence, together, have certainly made the customer journey fascinating. The union constantly finds new ways to enhance the customers’ experience.
Artificial Intelligence has opened new opportunities for fintech and payments ecosystems that want to go beyond digitising payments. It enables them to bypass the risks and threats, explicit and implicit, involved in the processing of payments.
Business owners can steer clear of repetitive processes that slow down their growth. Rather, they can channelise the free time, money, and resources to prioritise more relevant issues. While streamlined processes benefit the business, security wins the investor confidence, which matters most for online B2B payments.