AMEX Rolls Out B2B Digital Payment Solution

It’s increasingly common to learn about fintech companies helping small and medium-sized businesses leverage the benefits of emerging technologies. In our post yesterday we shared research showing that those businesses using more tech are more bullish on tech. And not surprisingly their businesses are performing better than those that are bearish on new tech. 

So no surprise that American Express has rolled out a digital payment solution for its U.S. small business customers. An American Banker piece reports that American Express has long wanted to deliver more of its tech and services to SMBs.

Today, AMEX’s relationship is often simply a card. In the first quarter of 2021, small and midsize businesses accounted for 21% of its total global loan mix. SMBs accounted for 34% of AMEX’s total global card member receivables.

Here’s how Steve Squeri, Amex’s chairman and CEO, thinks about it.

“A key element of our longer-term growth strategy is to deepen our relationships with current SME customers and attract new clients by offering a range of supplier payment and cash flow management solutions,” Squeri said. “Both on and beyond the card, giving business owners more tools to help them manage their businesses.” 

To that end, all eligible US Amex Small Business Card members can send payments funded by their business bank accounts to suppliers in more than 40 countries across a range of currencies. 

Demand for All-in-One

Apparently, AMEX has landed on a clear small business need. A July 2022 PYMNTS and Plastiq survey found 23% of SMBs wanted to use an all-in-one payment solution. This also represents a savings opportunity for SMBs. Why? Because 80% of vendors would offer SMBs a discount if their invoices were paid in 30 days. 

AMEX’s efforts in digital payments will help grow the network and user base. In a 2020 survey of U.S. and Canadian businesses, 82% evolved how they transmit money. That means AMEX must continue to evolve and innovate to maintain its place in both the wallets — digital or leather — of both consumers and small businesses. 

Dean Henry, American Express’ executive vice president of global commercial services, put a point on it. He said the program was launched in response to SMB customers seeking an “international payment solution focused on simplicity, convenience. And the chance to earn rewards.”

A company survey revealed that 64% of SMB owners in the U.S. expect their total spending with businesses outside the country to increase this year.

The program rolled out by AMEX appears to address some of the challenges SMBs face in growing their business internationally. When the economy picks up additional steam, it will probably pay off handsomely. 

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