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The big questions and hot topics from Money 20/20 USA

Money 20/20 is like Christmas in many ways. There’s a lot of hard work and preparation in the run-up, especially if you are hosting a stand. And then it’s all a bit of a blur for a few fantastic days. 

The B4B Payments team got together recently to unpack our observations, compare notes, and consolidate our learnings. Here are some of our key takeaways from Money 20/20 USA, held in Las Vegas.

Digital identity and a Snickers bar 

After just a few minutes of walking the event floor, you would have been struck by one thing. Digital identity was front and centre, both in terms of exhibitor stands and speaker sessions.

In one lively panel session, the topic of data access and identity governance was discussed. Digital identity expert Dave Birch questioned whether consumers really knew the value of their own data and speculated that most of them ‘would be happy to give away all their personal data to Facebook for a Snickers bar.’ This clearly indicates there needs to be some formal structure for identity and data access that is fair and equitable for all parties.

The Banking-as-a Service (BaaS) versus Embedded Finance debate

A big talking point on the B4B Payments stand was the confusion between BaaS and embedded finance among our U.S. visitors. 

Of those who had heard of BaaS, many did not really know the difference between it and embedded finance – or simply assumed they were the same thing.

By the end of the event, we had boiled down our explanation of the difference between the two into these three major areas:

  • Different functionality – BaaS gives you the ability to offer traditional banking services. These are usually provided by a bank or licensed fintech service provider via a single API.  Embedded finance, on the other hand, offers a much broader set of financial services via multiple API integrations.
  • Different use cases – BaaS is generally used by organisations for whom financial services are their core offering, such as Neobank. Embedded payments are often used by companies for whom financial services are not their core offering, such as a telecoms company. In this case, the telecoms provider could use embedded finance to help their customers buy more of their products by taking out a loan or offering a BNPL option.
  • Different supplier relationships and regulatory obligations – BaaS is usually provided through a single supplier (a bank or a more modern licensed fintech such as B4B Payments). The supplier takes on the bulk of the regulatory burden, and their clients are expected to adhere to specific regulations. These will be monitored by the BaaS provider. With embedded finance, the regulatory responsibilities are distributed between the different financial service providers and non-financial companies. 

Some topics that were not so hot

Similarly, the metaverse was not such a hot topic as we all await stronger case studies and more decisive evidence of customer adoption. 

The lack of open banking exhibitors or content highlighted the difference between the US and European markets. This is something that is likely to grow in the future as open banking gathers pace in the US.  

The technology gap exposed

The differences between the U.S. and Europe in terms of payment technology and experiences remain quite stark. One of the clearest examples of this was highlighted during the ‘Keeping Up with Expectations in Embedded Finance’ panel session at the start of Day 2.

Daniel Crisologo, Director of Payments from Nordstrom, stated that their business had only started offering contactless in response to the COVID outbreak in 2020. In the UK, the rollout of contactless payment acceptance by the largest organisations happened more than a decade ago. Contactless payments accounted for over 70 per cent of pay-as-you-go transactions at Transport for London (TfL) by 2022 – including paying for more than 2.5 billion TfL bus journeys in that time.  

Similarly, BNPL was discussed as an emerging payment option for U.S. consumers, but it is well-established in the UK and Europe. BNPL is predicted to grow at 25% each year in the UK from 2022 to 2028. This is partly due to its ability to help consumers through the current cost of living crisis. 

The customer experience

The panel discussed the importance of delivering a consistent customer experience. Whether you are serving consumers or business buyers, it is essential to make the same payment options available across all channels for a friction-free, high-converting buyer experience.

The trend towards digital wallets was a talking point, given predictions that their user base will grow strongly to exceed 5.2 billion globally by 2026, an increase of over 53% from 2022 levels. This is because of the potential for universal and merchant wallets to empower consumer purchasing and increase loyalty. 

In a discussion that was relevant to both BaaS and embedded finance, the topic of commercial models was raised and the need to condense those across the virtual SaaS industry. Using a single service provider with one API integration is a good start. The need to simplify layers and connectivity in the payment orchestration process will also be key to preventing friction for buyers and impacting conversions.  

Staying ahead of the game

As B4B Payments continues to grow from its UK base to the U.S., it is interesting to note the differences and nuances between these two dynamic markets. Money 20/20 remains the industry barometer for payment conversations and trends. 

The interest in embedded payments is strong, and the U.S. market is beginning to understand the important differences and opportunities offered by Banking-as-a-Service. 

In difficult economic times for both business buyers and consumers, it is good to see the payments industry continuing to focus on how it can most effectively empower businesses and enhance profitability.

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Elevating Commercial Banking: How Credit Unions Can Compete with Flexible Prepaid Technology

Credit unions represent a counterpart to conventional banks, and the banking industry’s recent shakeup has created an opportunity to gain new commercial business, especially the 29 million SMBs, with expanded business payment service offerings.

Speaking of opportunities, SMBs are shifting considerably away from large banks – which hold 45% of the market share, and 66% of business owners say their primary bank doesn’t get them. Additionally, B2B is the largest payment segment globally. In 2018, Goldman Sachs estimated B2B payments at $127 trillion. More recently, Credit Suisse pegged B2B payments at $125 trillion out of a $235 trillion total market. This outweighs the B2C payments market, estimated to be 52 trillion.

The demise of several banks in the spring has resulted in some SMBs reassessing their banking relationships beyond merely credit risks, and this is where credit unions can leverage their reputation for trustworthiness and commitment to community values to attract commercial clients. 

Additionally, the shift allows credit unions to offer access to cutting-edge, self-service commercial prepaid products as an embedded payment solution that can grow in tandem with their SMB clients and make it easier for businesses to conduct expense management and payouts.

Unlike large banks, credit unions can swiftly adapt to the evolving needs of businesses and tailor their prepaid card programs accordingly. This agility is a key selling point for credit unions positioning themselves as dynamic, commercial payment partners for businesses.

Personalized Service and Local Focus

One of the core strengths of credit unions is their commitment to personalized service and community focus. They can emphasize their local presence and understanding of the unique challenges facing businesses in their community. Commercial clients often appreciate the accessibility and personal touch that credit unions can provide, which may be lacking in larger, impersonal banks.

Seamless Integration with Business Services

To compete effectively, credit unions can integrate prepaid cards seamlessly with other business services they offer. This includes aligning prepaid cards with business loans, lines of credit, and merchant services. By offering a comprehensive suite of financial solutions, credit unions become one-stop destinations for all of a business’s financial needs.

The first step towards success lies in recognizing that businesses have unique financial requirements. Credit unions can craft prepaid card solutions that cater specifically to these demands. Whether it’s facilitating employee expenses, managing petty cash, or optimizing cash flow, prepaid cards can be customized to align with the varied financial goals of commercial clients.

Seamless Expense Management

Managing expenses is a critical aspect of any business’s financial health. By offering prepaid cards equipped with integrated expense management tools, credit unions empower commercial clients to effortlessly track and categorize their spending. This streamlined process not only reduces administrative burdens but also provides invaluable insights into financial management.

Flexible Funding for Businesses

Flexibility is the name of the game in the commercial world, where cash flow can make or break a business. Credit unions can provide prepaid cards that allow businesses to load funds as needed, ensuring access to working capital whenever required. This flexibility enhances financial stability and bolsters businesses’ confidence in their credit union partner.

The Loyalty and Rewards Advantage

Introducing loyalty or rewards programs tied to prepaid cards can be a game-changer for businesses. Small businesses can easily develop employee, channel partner, vendor, and customer incentives and reward schemes that enable them to strengthen their relationships. In return, this not only incentivizes continued usage but also deepens the loyalty between the credit union and its commercial clients.

Risk Management and Informed Decision-Making

Prepaid cards offer a window into a business’s financial activity. Credit unions can use this data to assess the financial health and stability of their commercial members, informing lending decisions and risk assessment. This proactive approach to risk management safeguards both the credit union and its clients.

Collaborative Teamwork

Credit unions can explore collaborative partnerships with fintech companies like B4B Payments. These partnerships can help credit unions launch and optimize their prepaid card offerings with advanced technology and innovative features. By staying on the cutting edge of fintech, credit unions can compete with banks on the technological front.

B4B Payments can help credit unions quickly and easily launch and enhance their prepaid commercial card programs and compete with banks offering embedded payment solutions. Our end-to-end flexible and scalable prepaid commercial card issuing platform offers easy set-up and onboarding so commercial divisions can quickly enable businesses to self-manage the instant issue of physical and virtual Visa® cards for travel, entertainment, supplies, internal department and project spending, incentives and rewards.

We’ve Made It Simple 

Our robust APIs integrate seamlessly into existing bank systems and make it easy for your institution to offer a simple method for your credit unions to deliver businesses a valuable payment solution that also streamlines payments and gains them greater transparency and reporting capabilities.

With easy set-up and onboarding, commercial operations will not need additional staff or deal with lengthy and burdensome training and processes to begin enabling companies to self-manage the instant issue of physical and virtual Visa® cards for travel, entertainment, supplies, internal department and project spending, incentives, and rewards.

Credit unions have a competitive edge in the commercial banking space when armed with well-designed prepaid card programs. By capitalizing on their flexibility, commitment to personalized service, competitive pricing, and strategic partnerships, credit unions can effectively compete with banks for commercial clients. The key lies in understanding businesses’ unique needs, providing innovative solutions, and showcasing the distinct advantages credit unions offer as financial partners.

For more information, visit B4B Payments Credit Union Information Page.

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Breaking Barriers: How Digital Payment Solutions Increase Diversity in Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are the backbone of medical research, providing crucial insights into the efficacy and safety of new treatments and therapies. However, one persistent challenge that plagues the field is the under-representation of diverse populations in these trials. This lack of diversity not only hampers the validity of study results but also limits the applicability of findings to broader communities.

Vulnerable populations, including those who are rural, poor, unbanked, under-educated, or chronically ill, often face barriers to participation due to concerns about payment methods or a lack of trust in the system. The solution to these challenges might be embracing modern and efficient digital payment solutions.

The Impact of Under-Representation

Under-representation in clinical trials has far-reaching consequences that extend beyond research. When certain demographic groups are left out, study results may not accurately reflect how a treatment will perform in the real world.
There are even cases where sample sizes are often too small to permit assessment of treatment efficacy within particular subgroups.

This can lead to less effective or unsafe treatments, ultimately perpetuating health disparities. Additionally, the lack of diversity in clinical trials can hinder the development of personalized medicine, where treatments are tailored to individual genetic and environmental factors.

Here are some recent informative headlines that point to the issue:

Barriers to Participation

Vulnerable populations often face unique barriers that discourage their participation in clinical trials. Payment methods are one such barrier. Many individuals, particularly those from underserved communities, may not have traditional bank accounts, making it difficult to receive compensation for their participation. A World Bank 2021 report stated more than 1.4 billion people worldwide remained unbanked. This is especially true for rural or remote populations with limited banking infrastructure. Moreover, concerns about the security and transparency of payment systems can deter potential participants who fear their personal information might be compromised.

Figure: Accessibility to clinical industry clinical trials, calculated as number of clinical trial sites per 1 million in population relative to the U.S. levels (U.S. = 100%). LongTaal Clinical Trials Landscape dashboard/clinical Trials Indices. Source VIARES Academy for Clinical Research. Source ClinicalLeader

Building Trust and Accessibility with Digital Payments

Digital payment solutions can transform the landscape of clinical trial participation by addressing some of these barriers head-on. One of the key advantages of digital payments is their accessibility. Mobile phones are increasingly prevalent, even in low-income or rural areas, providing participants with a secure platform to receive compensation. Digital wallets or prepaid cards can be quickly loaded with the agreed-upon compensation amount, ensuring participants can access their funds without needing a traditional bank account.

Reloadable, prepaid debit cards are convenient, allowing for instant processing and automated differentiation between taxable and tax-exempt expenditures. These digital solutions also foster trust through their transparency.  Participants can track their payments in real-time via mobile or desktop devices, alleviating concerns about the legitimacy of the payment process. The use of secure encryption protocols and stringent data protection measures further bolster the security of these payment methods, assuaging fears about personal information being compromised.

Driving Inclusivity Through Efficiency

Efficiency is another hallmark of digital payment solutions. Traditional payment methods, such as checks, can be time-consuming and subject to delays. This is especially problematic for individuals who may be living paycheck to paycheck or facing financial instability. Digital payments eliminate these delays, ensuring that participants receive compensation promptly. This demonstrates respect for participants’ time and contribution and removes a significant logistical barrier that might otherwise discourage participation.

A Shift Towards Inclusivity

Adopting digital payment solutions represents a crucial shift towards inclusivity in clinical trials. By removing the barriers posed by payment methods and enhancing transparency and efficiency, these solutions can make trials more appealing and accessible to a broader spectrum of participants. Vulnerable populations can now participate without worrying about payment delays or security breaches, contributing to a more diverse and representative participant pool.

In the pursuit of medical advancements, clinical trials must reflect the diversity of the populations they aim to serve. Under-representations can compromise the validity and applicability of study results, perpetuating health disparities. Digital payment solutions like prepaid debit cards have the potential to break down barriers and increase diversity by providing accessible, transparent, and efficient methods of compensation. As the field of medical research continues to evolve, embracing these solutions could be the key to fostering inclusivity and driving forward healthcare breakthroughs that benefit everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances.

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Innovative Payments Solutions Streamline the Administrative Burden of Clinical Trial Participant Compensation

Clinical trials are crucial in advancing medical knowledge and improving patient care. However, the administrative tasks associated with managing participant compensation are often a significant burden for researchers and site personnel. According to recent studies, 44% of site personnel engaged in accounting also juggle other study-related responsibilities. This administrative workload can detract from the scientific focus of the research process. Fortunately, there are innovative solutions to address these challenges and streamline the compensation process.

Leveraging Digital Payment Methods

Adopting digital payment platforms is one of the most promising advancements in simplifying clinical trial participant compensation. Traditional methods of compensation disbursement often involve manual paperwork, which is not only time-consuming but also prone to human errors. By embracing digital payment platforms, researchers can automate the compensation disbursement process, reducing the need for extensive paperwork. Digital payment platforms offer secure and seamless compensation transfers, ensuring that participants receive their compensation in a timely manner. This enhances participant satisfaction and frees up valuable time for researchers and site personnel. Instead of allocating significant hours to processing payments, these individuals can redirect their efforts towards more critical aspects of the trial.

Moreover, prepaid debit cards have become a convenient and flexible payment method for clinical trial participants. These cards can be loaded with compensation funds and used just like regular debit cards, issued instantly as either a virtual or physical card, and provide participants with a hassle-free way to access their funds. Prepaid debit cards offer participants the freedom to choose how and when to use their compensation. This flexibility enhances participant satisfaction and encourages continued engagement and participation in the trial.

Time and Cost Savings

One of the most compelling advantages of digital payment platforms is the potential for significant time and cost savings. Research indicates that implementing such platforms can save up to 15 minutes per participant, considerably reducing administrative burden. These time savings compound as the number of participants in a clinical trial increase.

Researchers can devote more attention to study design, data analysis, and patient care by reallocating these saved hours. Furthermore, the cost savings associated with transitioning to digital payment platforms should not be overlooked.

By digitizing payments, administrators can significantly reduce manual paperwork, printing, and postage costs, leading to considerable financial benefits throughout a clinical trial. These cost savings can be reinvested into other research areas, contributing to the overall success of the study.

Automated Payment Tracking Systems

Automated payment tracking systems have gained traction further to improve the transparency and efficiency of the compensation process. By automating payment tracking, researchers can identify and promptly address discrepancies or issues. This proactive approach prevents potential delays in compensation disbursement and maintains participant trust throughout the trial.

These payment systems provide real-time monitoring of compensation disbursement, allowing researchers and site personnel to have a clear overview of payment statuses. Real-time tracking minimizes the risk of errors and ensures accurate record-keeping, thus enhancing transparency and compliance.

The administrative burden of managing participant compensation in clinical trials has long been a challenge for researchers and site personnel. However, the landscape is changing with the emergence of innovative payment solutions, such as digital payment platforms, prepaid debit cards, and automated payment tracking systems.

Solutions like B4B Payments’ instant prepaid card issuing platform streamline the compensation process, offer substantial time and cost savings, enhance participant satisfaction, and improve trial transparency. Advanced, easy-to-use payment platforms allow researchers to focus more on their work’s scientific aspects, drive progress in medical research, and ultimately improve patient care.

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Optimizing Payment: The Key to Clinical Trial Participant Satisfaction and Retention

Clinical trials are an essential cornerstone of medical research, enabling the development of new treatments and therapies that can revolutionize healthcare. However, Clinical Research Organizations (CROs), sponsors, and independent trial sites often face significant challenges in recruiting and retaining participants, leading to delays and increased costs.

One crucial factor that can address these bottlenecks is the optimization of participant payment processes. By providing timely and seamless compensation,  researchers can incentivize participants to enroll and ensure their commitment throughout the trial.

The Importance of Participant Recruitment and Retention

Participant recruitment and retention are notorious hurdles in the world of clinical trials. Lengthy recruitment processes and high dropout rates can lead to delayed trial completion, increased expenses, and compromised data accuracy.

The reasons for these challenges are multifaceted, ranging from stringent eligibility criteria to the burden of participation. One effective strategy to address these issues lies in optimizing the payment experience for participants.

Seamless Compensation as an Incentive

One of the primary reasons individuals consider participating in clinical trials is the compensation offered for their time, effort, and potential health risks. In one survey, 39% of participants reported compensation as their primary motive for participating in clinical trials.

This percentage can go up to 90% for healthy volunteers. Optimizing payment processes is an effective way to incentivize participants to enroll and actively engage in the trial. The amount of payment for participation should not be overlooked, as this recent headline points out: Paying research participants — a lot — may be a key to increasing diversity in studies.

Timely, reliable, and hassle-free compensation fosters a sense of value and appreciation, boosting participants’ motivation to actively engage in the trial, follow protocols, attend appointments, and provide accurate data.

Source: TrialFacts

An Easy Way to Streamline Payment Processes

Efficient payment solutions, such as B4BPayments’ prepaid cards, are pivotal in streamlining payment processes for clinical trial participants. Prepaid cards offer a convenient and secure way to deliver compensation promptly, eliminating manual processes and the delays associated with traditional payment methods like checks or bank transfers.

The global prepaid card market, projected to reach $4.1 trillion in transaction value by 2026, according to Juniper Research, attests to the increasing demand for this convenient form of payment. This growth is primarily driven by emerging markets, where the reach of traditional banking systems may not be as extensive.

We have made it easy to overcome the burdens of administrative tasks, empowering sites to have more time to focus on research. B4B Payments’ all-in-one, intuitive management platform gives administrators full control and the power to instantly issue or schedule and automate the issuance of reloadable Visa prepaid physical and virtual cards globally with the agreed-upon compensation amount, for single or multiple trials and set milestones.

Administrators gain a new level of transparency in tracking each account and payment made, B4B Payments is a technology-first company, and we have designed an easy-to-use platform that flawlessly integrates into existing accounting and program management software.

Moreover, prepaid cards reduce the necessity for trial participants to have a bank account, use currency exchanges, or wait to receive checks in the mail. Trial participants can receive funds immediately for incentives, completion of milestones, and reimbursements. With increased consumer adoption of digital payments, cardholders can use a friendly mobile application to easily add their cards to highly used Apple or Google wallets for seamless mobile payments and manage their cards.

By adopting a simple, digital prepaid approach to participant compensation, operators can foster inclusion and diversity and ensure that participants receive their compensation without unnecessary friction, which can significantly impact their overall trial experience.


Impact on Retention Rates

The goal of optimizing payment processes is to improve participant retention rates. When participants have a positive payment experience and feel well compensated for their time and efforts, they are more likely to stay enrolled in the trial until completion. Studies have shown that participants who are paid promptly and without inconvenience are 2.5 times more likely to complete the required clinical trial steps than those who face payment-related challenges.

Higher retention rates translate to more accurate and comprehensive data collection, which is vital for drawing reliable conclusions from the trial. Reliable data is essential for gaining regulatory approval, advancing medical knowledge, and bringing new treatments to market. By prioritizing payment optimization, researchers can significantly contribute to their clinical trials’ success and healthcare’s overall advancement.

Optimizing payment processes is a critical yet often overlooked aspect of ensuring the success of clinical trials. As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, prioritizing payment optimization can be a game-changer in achieving successful clinical trials that drive meaningful progress. Contact B4B Payments to learn how we can help optimize the trial experience.

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Virtual Gift Cards for Rewards and Incentives Businesses Great Value

With the economy continuing to struggle, the use of incentives to retain high-performing employees and valued partnerships is a major strategy for many companies.

The holiday season presents a perfect opportunity for businesses to strengthen employee and partner retention efforts. One of the easiest and fastest-growing ways companies can deliver thanks is by presenting virtual cards.

It’s no surprise that the global virtual gift card market is estimated to grow by $420.49 billion, with a CAGR of 20.13 % between 2021 to 2026, according to an Infiniti Research market study. The rapid digitalization of currency, the increased usage of contactless payments via tap-and-pay physical point-of-sale devices and eCommerce, and the convenience factor virtual cards offer are key reasons why this digital alternative to traditional physical gift cards is growing rapidly.

Companies and consumers alike have realized that obtaining and sending physical gift cards can be time-consuming and expensive, especially if you have a large number of recipients on your list. The cost typically incurred by a company looking to present physical cards includes having an additional budget for packaging and shipping, and should the package get lost or stolen, then the cost to reship comes into play.

An unfortunate reality today is that logistics and shortages are creating unexpected delays in shipping and handling, even with drop shipping. Sending physical gift cards to employees and partners is even more expensive and complicated for businesses with a global presence.

Sending a virtual gift card directly through email is more efficient and cost-effective. An advantage of using virtual cards for your business is that the cardholder can use their card immediately. No need to wait for a traditional card to be sent in the mail. As soon as the card is created and funds loaded, the user will receive an email with instructions on retrieving their new card details.

Other benefits of offering virtual gift cards to employees, team members, or partners include:

Flexibility and choice

Offering a virtual gift card, supported by major networks like Visa and MasterCard, ensures your recipients receive the gift of choice. This means they can reward themselves with whatever is most important to them. With no limitations, each recipient can choose a gift that’s perfect for them. The flexibility of virtual cards also easily allows recipients to donate to charitable organizations.

Support Sustainability Values

The rapid digitization of the world is supporting growing interest and focus on sustainability. Companies are becoming more aware of consumer interest and demand for sustainability and transforming and innovating their businesses to stay relevant. In fact, 85 percent of consumers have shifted toward being more sustainable during the past five years, according to a recent survey by Simpon-Kucher strategy and marketing agency. A virtual gift card has a small carbon footprint, and unlike physical cards and gifts that may not really be on anyone’s wish list, won’t end up in a garbage fill.

To find out more, please complete our form HERE and we will be in touch.

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B4B awards Ana for the Above and Beyond Award (US)

She has been awarded a virtual card sent to her email, where she can spend online or in-store.

We are incredibly proud to announce that Ana Santos, the Client Operations/Account Manager for B4B Payments, has won the Above and Beyond Award (US)!

Being recognised for your hard work is always a great feeling. It’s even better when that recognition comes from your colleagues. That’s why we hold this award to give all employees the opportunity, to nominate a colleague they believe embodies our core company values.

This award is also a way to show appreciation for those who go above and beyond in their work. We believe rewarding our employees is essential in creating a positive and supportive work environment where everyone can succeed. Here is what Ana had to say:

1. How do you feel about winning the award?

It’s always nice to be recognized by one’s colleagues for a job well done. The gift of a virtual B4B Payments Visa card is a simple, fast method to acknowledge that hard work, and it allows the recipient the opportunity to use those funds anywhere Visa is accepted.

2. Was it easy to get started?

Registering my virtual B4B Payments Visa card was quite simple on the web browser and took only a few minutes. Once I completed the registration process, I could easily find the card details. In the email instructions are provided on how to use it, as well as contact information for Customer Service should I have any additional questions.

3. Where and when do you plan to spend your virtual card?

I am eyeing a leaf blower (‘tis the season, you know) and this will help me pay for it.

4. Why do you think this is an excellent way to reward employees?

It’s a fast, convenient way for employers to acknowledge their staff for their contributions to the enterprise. B4B could not make it any easier.

Prepaid virtual cards are the perfect choice

Organizing an effective reward and recognition scheme in the workplace can be a challenge. You want to give your employees something that will boost motivation and productivity, but you also don’t want to break the bank. Our prepaid virtual cards are the perfect solution! They’re flexible so that you can tailor them to everyone’s needs. They’re a great way to attract top talent into your business. You’ll stand out from the competition by giving them something they want.

We provide the option to brand your cards with a cardholder app fully. Your employees can also add the card to their Google Pay and Apple Pay wallets!

Our prepaid virtual cards are the perfect choice if you’re looking for a way to give your employees the recognition they deserve. To find out more, contact us today!

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Digital Payments Bringing Value to Travel and Tourism Rebound

Travel and tourism are rebounding in the U.S. and abroad, and digital payments are being used to support renewed growth, offer added value, and streamline payments to vendors and suppliers.

After the exceptional drop in 2020 and 2021, international tourism continues its gradual recovery in 2022 due to the easing of travel restrictions. According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), international tourist arrivals more than doubled (+130%) compared to January 2021, growing by 18 million. According to the organization, the increase in the number of arrivals is the same as in the whole of 2021 over 2020. Meanwhile, the WTO reported that a rapid rise in domestic travel and tourism, especially in the U.S., is driving the recovery.

Despite the hard impact Covid has had on the industry, the pandemic has created a new category of domestic and international travelers deemed the “untethered worker” or “laptop lugger” that seeks to mix work and vacation. This growing group tends to be younger, aims to take longer trips, and is a higher-income group, according to a recently published study by Delloite. Additionally, this group is highly digital and actively seeks the ease and convenience of digital payments.

Another bright spot for travel and tourism is that travelers plan to spend more this year on longer trips and more expensive accommodations, according to a Sky Scanner travel agency survey of 4000 travelers in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Germany.

Specialty segments are also on the rise, such as student, health and wellness, cultural and medical tourism, which includes patients traveling domestically and beyond international borders for surgeries and medical treatments. A recent analysis by Market Data Forecast indicates the U.S. medical tourism market alone will grow from the current (2022) $8.3 billion to $19.96 billion by 2027. This U.S. segment may also experience a significant increase due to the recent overturn of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that recognized a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion and legalized it nationwide. A growing number of companies are offering financial support (‘Abortion Access’) to aide women employees in states banning abortion rights and are left with the only option of traveling to abortion-permissive states.

Delivering additional value to travelers and tourists

With a rebound underway, digital payments, including prepaid cards and digital wallets, offer a powerful and highly flexible solution that travel and tourism businesses can use to be competitive and improve efficiencies for paying vendors and suppliers.

The increased cost of travel due to rising fuel prices makes travelers more concerned with budgeting than other challenges, according to Delloite. Businesses can offer prepaid cards to provide additional value to budget-minded travelers who want to save and manage their money. Using B4B Payment’s prepaid travel cards and mobile/online application, cardholders can quickly load funds onto their cards, track spending, and even upload receipts. B4B Payments makes it simple for cardholders to add a physical or virtual card to a mobile wallet.

Offering prepaid cards also ensures travelers avoid the hassle of carrying cash. A prepaid card is much safer than carrying cash when traveling. Should a physical card be lost or stolen, B4B Payments enables cardholders to quickly deactivate their card and have funds painlessly moved to a new virtual or physical card.

Additionally, businesses can offer prepaid cards for particular use cases, such as stranded passengers or emergency payments, and offer travelers an incentive or reward program.

An improved service provider experience

The value prepaid cards and digital payments offer travel and tourism businesses value beyond supporting clients. Travel and tourism operators are reliant on vendor and supplier relationships. It is no secret that prompt payment helps companies be preferred customers and retain high-performing service providers. Ultimately this can translate to a better customer experience and a more significant opportunity to scale your business.

B4B Payments eliminate the need for traditional banking processes such as wire transfers and checks or cash. Our versatile prepaid product can easily be set up for making real-time payments 24/7 to providers anywhere in the world. This highly efficient form of making payments helps businesses optimize cash flow, manage peak volumes, and prevents the need to exceed credit limits.

Additionally, savvy businesses can easily use digital payments to enhance vendor relationships by offering channel incentives and rewards.


To find out more about how B4B works with travel and tourism companies, get in touch with us.


References:

SkyScanner 2022 Travel Survey

World Tourism Organization

Deloitte 2022 Summer Travel Survey:

Market Data Forecast:

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Case dismissed: Digital payments outperform checks in class action disbursements

Class action lawsuits can take years to negotiate and for courts to approve a final settlement. Historically, managing settlement disbursements have been equally time-consuming due to labor-intensive, and costly check-cutting processes.

Digital payments are now changing the disbursement process and creating greater efficiencies for litigators, claim administrators, and payees.

The use of digital payments had lagged from the court system’s initial foray into digitizing the class action process with the adoption of the 2018 amendments to the U.S. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure, notably Rule 23(C)(2)(B). This rule allowed class-action notices to be conducted through electronic channels such as emails and social media. With growing consumer preference for electronic payments, it was only a matter of time before court systems would see electronic payment distribution in business-to-consumer legal cases as a viable option for disbursements. Today, more courts embrace digital payment options such as automated clearing house (ACH) deposits, wire transfers, and prepaid and virtual card-based payments.

Checks continue steady decline in usage

The frequency of using checks continues to be on the decline in the U.S. for consumers and businesses. According to data from the Federal Reserve, the use of paper checks amounted to 15% of transactions in 2012 and fell to 8.3% in 2019*. Visa’s unreleased Q4 2021 “U.S. Share of Wallet Report” paints a similar picture with U.S. consumers using checks only 7% of the time to make payments, down from 54% in 1996.

According to Aberdeen Strategy Research and Bank of America, the cost of cutting and managing checks is not cheap either and averages about $7 to $15. In some instances, the cost to disburse checks can reach up to $20, considering the required mailing and processing. These incremental costs add up quickly and can sometimes exceed the settlement disbursement amount. Unclaimed checks from settlement cases create issues related to unclaimed property liability from uncashed checks, which are considered funds outstanding in company ledgers. In class actions, payers must report on the settlement funds, which sometimes leads to the daunting task of tracking down recipients who have not received or cashed their checks.

Digital payments is a win for financial inclusion

Beyond the general declining value of using checks, courts have embraced digital payment as a viable option to address financial inclusion issues. Approximately 25% of U.S. households are unbanked or underbanked. In many cases, unbanked class members receiving checks are forced to pay substantial fees for check cashing services. To open a bank account simply to receive their payments, these class members would be required to open a new account and prove creditworthiness if they have not already.

Issues regarding unbanked populations have been a big challenge to legacy settlement fund distribution. In a cashless system, prepaid cards can ensure that people without bank accounts can still participate and access benefits.

Integrating digital payments enables claims administrators to offer claimants the choice of how they would like to receive payments, from direct-to-bank account options to popular virtual cards / digital wallets.

Digitizing and streamlining the fund distribution process can help create greater efficiencies for legal claims disbursements in multiple ways. B4B Payments provides an innovative and flexible digital payment solution that enables class member settlement and mass tort disbursements to be paid quickly and efficiently with virtual and physical Visa prepaid cards.

Get in touch today to find out how B4B Payments can help you make your fintech ideas a reality with our next-gen BIN Sponsorship services.


*The 2019 Federal Reserve Payments Study,” Federal Reserve

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Why insurance firms should take advantage of fintech innovation

PwC found that 74% of insurance companies see fintech as a challenge for their industry.

But, with consumer behaviours already changing pre-COVID and becoming evermore geared towards digital in the post-COVID world, insurance is at risk of being left behind.

But why is it so important that insurance firms take advantage of the latest fintech innovation?

Reaching a younger audience

Younger audiences are an important target audiences for insurance firms. Getting young people to take out a policy now and making sure that your offer suits their needs means potential customers for life, so getting it right with young people is a must.

Typically, Millennial audiences and younger Generation X consumers prefer digital methods for payments and communications. The less direct interaction with a business, the more convenient it is for this demographic to use a service.

Not only that, but this demographic are far less likely to be loyal to financial companies, swapping and changing as their needs evolve. This means that flexible, digital options are absolutely vital.

But PwC’s fintech global report found that, until COVID-19, apps were seen as ‘nice to have’, which means that many insurance companies and financial institutions might not yet be meeting the needs of a younger demographic.

Today, customers expect a great deal of flexibility, and insurtech offers this. Free from legacy products and processes, they use emerging technologies to build brand new systems and are much more targeted, rather than the old-fashioned end-to-end solutions that don’t meet everyone’s needs.

US insurance firm Metromile is a great example of this: by offering customers pay-per-mile insurance, particularly for those who live in urban areas and don’t drive very often, Metromile can offer customers flexible, bespoke insurance policies that meet their unique needs.

Another good example of a flexible, bespoke approach to insurance policies is life insurance firm Vantis Life. By making use of artificial intelligence, Vantis Life were able to underwrite life insurance policies in the US based on public records and third-party data, which meant that many customers didn’t need to undergo medical tests. Again, this minimal contact between customer and insurer will help to attract younger customers.

And AI isn’t just beneficial for the customer – in early 2017, home insurer Lemonade (also based in the US) reported that its AI-powered technology managed to process and settle a theft claim in just three seconds, without paperwork from the customer. It’s estimated that long claim processes can inflate a claim value by up to 30%, so speeding up the payment process can save insurers a great deal of money.

So making insurance processes simpler, more flexible and – most importantly – digital can work wonders for reaching a younger audience. Do it right, and you’ve got a customer for life, so investment in fintech and insurtech can have immense long-term returns for your business.

Build trust between you and your customers

IBM reported in 2020 that 42% of customers don’t trust their insurer. However, a Salesforce study found that 84% of customers globally say that the experience a company provides is just as important as its product or services.

This means that insurance has a long way to go to meet customers’ expectations. But, through fintech, that trust can be built and the customers’ needs can be placed front and centre.

At the time of a claim, customers might be experiencing loss or trauma, through theft or injury, so the interaction between insurer and policy-holder is delicate. No business wants to contribute to a customer’s difficult experiences but some insurers may be inadvertently doing so.

The last thing that customers want when getting back on their feet is a complex and lengthy process – they want efficiency, understanding and, importantly, speed. The quicker the payout, the sooner the customer can get back to their day-to-day life.

Fintech can make this happen. Solutions like virtual cards can offer a simple method of paying a claim that works for everyone. By issuing these cards when a policy is taken out, insurers can be sure that money is being sent to the right place within minutes of a claim being assessed, making for a much simpler and convenient process for customers than old-fashioned methods like bank transfer or – even worse – cheque.

As well as this, customers who receive regular recurring payments, like disability or annuity, can access funds immediately through a prepaid card.

Understand and build loyalty with your customers

Fintech also provides you with opportunities to provide personalised incentives and rewards for your customers in a way that legacy processes simply can’t, whilst also bringing in new revenue streams for your business.

By forming partnerships with other businesses, you can harness fintech to provide bespoke offers. For example, pet insurance claimants can receive discounts at pet shops or health insurance policy-holders could receive discounted gym memberships, when paid for through their prepaid card issued when taking out a policy.

What’s more, by providing this payment option to policy-holders, you can gather useful data on their spending habits to offer tailored products and services that meet their individual needs. This means you can understand your customers better, provide them with a better service, and keep them coming back.

Fintech is opening doors in insurance – don’t be left behind.

With fintech providing opportunities to reach younger customers and, more significantly, keep them coming back, the importance of insurance firms embracing and investing in fintech in a post-COVID world has never been more clear.

To find out how we can help you embed fintech into your insurance firm, contact B4B Payments today.