Unified Commerce – the Combination of Payments and Banking

by Mike Lichtenberger

A revolution of sorts is taking place that aims to integrate payments with banking operations, known as Unified Commerce. Merchants with multiple sales channels must provide a consistent customer experience with an immediately applicable unified commerce strategy. 

What does this mean? Immediately applicable matters because the longer it takes for you to unify customer payments with banking, the further behind you are against customer expectations – and that includes their payments experience.

Unified Commerce

…is the Combination of Payments and Banking

A central pillar of Unified Commerce is a blending of transactions and transitions with its focus on Financial Management.   Merchants are concerned about General Ledger Management and accurate accounting reports. CFOs and their staff are equally concerned with Treasury Management Services for control over capital, cash flow, liquidity and debt service, shareholder obligations, and risk management.

Through an integrated platform, a single resource “works” both sides of the ledger as well as the Treasury’s cash management. A Unified Commerce engine powers payments, banking services, document services, reporting, business intelligence, and regulatory compliance.

  • General Ledger:  Collecting money owed to you. Minimize the aging of accounts receivable balances and reduce the Days Sales Outstanding [DSO.]
  • Treasury:  Optimize your business’ liquidity, capital management, cash flow in and out, and shareholder investments – all the while mitigating financial and operational risks.
  • General Ledger: Paying out money owed by you. Improve your business relationships within your supply chain by structuring terms that work to your advantage.  

Merchants and Business-to-Business [B2B] companies depend on payments to stay in business. Yes, you want to make revenue collection seamless and efficient with a variety of options. Your customers’ payment experience is an integral part of your Customer Experience strategies.

Making it easy for your customers to pay you on time is vital to your cash flow. But so is the cost of money of your AR and the cost of processing payments. B2B transactions are charged some of the highest processing fees, and B2B sales are typically higher in volume. That means the costs can add up fast. Did you know? Purchasing and corporate cards are eligible for significant savings. When those transactions are processed with enhanced Level 2 and Level 3 data, a merchant’s savings can reduce fees by 0.75% to 1.50% or more. With an automated feature, electronic payments are instantly eligible for reduced interchange fees. Quite often, the processing cost is offset by your terms for discounts and the costs of funds while you wait. 

Vital to your cash flow is minimizing your AR balances and aging delinquencies

With Unified Commerce and full payment integration, you can easily automate your payables while generating a revenue stream. By sharing Interchange Income, Cash Rebates, and other incentives, a company turns the Accounts Payable process from a cost center to a source of income.

About SMB Payments and Acquiring

  • Streamline billing and payment processing
  • Collect customer sales data and maintain loyalty
  • Gain competitive intelligence
  • Increase reach and revenue

About B2B and Enterprise Payments

  • Monetize payments with rebates, apply the most advantageous payment terms and negotiate discounted payment fees for your suppliers
  • Leverage your existing ERP system to eliminate costly checks and manual processes
  • Secure lower processing costs with Level 2 and Level 3 submissions

What more can Unified Commerce do for you? 

  • Scales with your growth strategies with regulatory compliance
  • Banking service APIs and end-to-end solutions to collect, store and send money
  • Continuous improvement

Automate Accounts Payable and convert your processes to generate income

Using the unified commerce approach, you can manage the customer journey and gain insights from touchpoints. Unified commerce lets you reach back into functions such as online sales, order management and fulfillment, and personalization. You will then better understand complex paths to purchase. Right now, with disparate IT systems, there are major hurdles to knowing your customers. With a combination of payments and banking systems, merchants begin to better understand unified commerce’s impact on the bottom line.

According to reports, now, more than ever, customers expect a customer experience that is seamless, accurate, and efficient across all touchpoints. The merchant that converts from omnichannel to unified commerce will increase engagement, deliver more relevant personalization, and promote repeat business and loyalty.

And it is suggested that unified commerce is not simply an evolution of the omnichannel retail model – – – it’s a panacea.

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