You may need to familiarize yourself with a few new terms when automating your vendor payments. But, it’s all worth it if it means you can leave checks in the rear-view mirror.
Glossary of Vendor Payments Automation Terms
If vendor payments automation is on your “to-do" list, and you’re getting confused by all the jargon you’re hearing, relax. We’ve got it covered. Nexus pulled together a list of the most common terms you’ll hear when going electronic with your vendor payments (aka supplier payments).
An ACH credit is a transfer where funds are pushed into a bank account. Thought of another way, it’s when a payer initiates a funds transfer to a payee.
An ACH debit is a transfer where funds are pulled from a bank account. Think of it as a payer giving the payee permission to take payment from their account.
ACH, or Automated Clearing House, payments are a common payment type offered by B2B payments companies. ACH payments transfer funds electronically from one bank account to another. ACH payments arrive faster than paper checks.
ACH Verification Process
The ACH verification process – also known as funding source verification – validates a bank account that has been entered into an online platform or service, and ensures the account is legitimate/valid.
See also micro-deposits.
Automated Invoice Processing
Automated invoice processing lets you receive, code, route, and approve invoices with clicks and keystrokes – not paper. When invoices are managed online in such a way, companies often find it easier to weather labor shortages, manage distributed/remote workforces, and scale/adapt as economic conditions evolve.
Automated invoice processing is sometimes, but not always, implemented together with vendor payments automation.
You can think of guaranteed funds as a guarantee of payment. Much like regular credit cards, virtual cards utilize a network (like Mastercard or Visa) to verify whether you are within your credit limit for a certain transaction or set of transactions. Once the network approves the trade, those funds are guaranteed to your vendor.
Highly Likely Spend (HLS)
HLS is the amount of spend that has a high probability of being switched from manual payment methods (i.e. checks) to Nexus Virtual Card payments. When you come on board with NexusPayments, Nexus will evaluate your overall spend and identify the suppliers most eligible for Nexus Virtual Card/NexusDirect payments. They’ll use criteria such as if the supplier already accepts credit card and if they already take Nexus Virtual Card from other customers.
Then, during the supplier onboarding process, they’ll attempt to get these suppliers to accept card from you. Keep in mind, the following supplier types almost always accept virtual card, so are likely to be part of your HLS:
- Flooring Carpet/Hardwood Flooring
- Hardware/Materials Supplier
- Landscape Design/Care
- Marketing Services
- Pest Control
- Security Services
- Software/Technical Services
Micro-deposits are one of the ways to perform ACH verification. Micro-deposits are small sums of money that are transferred online from one financial account to another. These serve as test deposits that help verify ownership/validity of a bank account.
One-to-one reconciliation generally means that a payments platform issues payments directly from your own bank accounts. This is highly desirable so that the reconciliation process is straightforward and quick.
Payment Approval Workflow
A payment approval workflow routes a payment transaction automatically to one or more people for their approval or rejection. Through such workflows, payment approvals are streamlined and standardized.
Rebates are cash back earned by the issuer of virtual card payments (i.e. the buyer).
Rebates are underwritten by the supplier as part of the interchange rate.
Straight-through processing refers to payments deposited directly into a supplier’s bank account without any manual input of card data on the supplier’s part.
For example, Nexus offers a straight through processing option with NexusDirect. With this solution, suppliers are issued a secure virtual card but the card is “swiped” on their behalf, no entering in card data, nor need for point of sale equipment.
A supplier network is the collection of digitally enabled vendors who already work with and trust a given B2B payment provider. You’ll want to know if suppliers from your line of business are included in a provider’s pre-established supplier network. This will have a direct impact on how many of your suppliers you can pay electronically through that payment provider.
Supplier onboarding is the process of reaching out to suppliers and getting them to switch to electronic payments. You’ll want to ensure your payments provider will help you with this process – or do it for you entirely – to ensure as many suppliers are converted as possible.
Vendor Payments Automation
Vendor payments automation allows you to pay suppliers through electronic means instead of through manual, paper-intensive processes. This is particularly beneficial for commercial, multifamily, and other real estate organizations who often pay hundreds or thousands of suppliers each month.
Vendor payments automation solutions let buyers:
- Automatically route payment transactions to the appropriate reviewers for approval
- Issue electronic payments to suppliers
- Track payment status online 24-7
- Access a full history and audit trail for every payment in just a few clicks
Vendor (Supplier) Portal
Vendor portals, also known as supplier portals, are secure online platforms that allow businesses to connect and collaborate with their suppliers, vendors, contractors, and service providers.
These portals digitize all things that need to be exchanged between the two parties, like purchase orders, invoices, payments, and certificates of insurance. With everything happening online, there’s less back-and-forth between buyers and suppliers.
Many payments companies offer virtual cards as a secure electronic payment method. A virtual card is a randomly generated, 16-digit credit card number that exists electronically, rather than on a physical card. Each virtual card has a short expiration date and is issued to pay a specific invoice or set of invoices.
Once received, a supplier simply inputs the card number into their point-of-sale system. Many payments companies offer virtual cards as one of the electronic payment methods available to you.
Buyers appreciate virtual cards because they’re easy to issue, cost effective, and provide cash back in the form of rebates.