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The future of B2B cross-border payments – The Paypers

What are the main aspects that keep the payments landscape complex and fragmented, and how do they affect the global ecommerce? 
Over the last ten years, the industry has made great progress in terms of cross-border payments, especially at the B2C and C2C level, yet the B2B segment has lagged behind, due to several issues that regard legacy systems and a struggle to keep up with a changing regulatory environment. 
For example, there is still a high reliance on manual processes, a lack of interoperability between platforms, and to complicate matters further, different regulations distract businesses from other projects that could bring a lot of profit. These issues could lead innovation to become a pursuit of minimum viable products and a failure to grasp substantial opportunities. 
How can businesses face these challenges? 
We have started to see an advent of a new approach embracing more and more digitalisation. The ultimate goal is to achieve global frictionless commerce, and in doing so, businesses must consider three qualities. 
Be simple. The offered products and services should be easily adaptable to both the employees and the customers, and all the backend processes should be automated and invisible. So businesses should work on optimising the buying, selling, or learning experience to excel at both employee and customer experiences.
Be seamless. In this API-driven age, all payment services should be well integrated into the cloud to avoid big jumps from one platform to another and make everything congruent. Moreover, the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, tokenization, and other technologies, stacked together, will push the boundaries of payments in the future. 
Be scalable. Making payments simple and seamless at a global scale will finally unlock business growth potential. Real-time APIs and flexible platform architecture will help businesses and payment providers achieve payment scalability in real time.
Which factors further drive the rise of real-time cross-border payments at the B2B level? 
Businesses always wanted the ability to get their money fast and mitigate the risks of receiving payments, for a better control of their cash flows. So it’s fair to say that this natural desire has been driving the development of real-time payments for some time now. 
Regulation is another factor, especially in countries where central banks have regulated their systems to provide access to real-time payments and settlements. It’s not the case of the US, however, as this country still stands a laggard in this area, but a new mandated system will be introduced next year to provide real-time payments. 
When we have bank mandates that enable all these real-time capabilities, technology makes them accessible, being able to digitally integrate into all these areas. 
Consumer awareness is also key, because people see these new services available in the industry and start using them once they realise the convenience they bring. We could notice a crescendo of different influences happening, which makes the real-time payments momentum possible. 
Besides real-time payments, what other trends will shape the growing size of the market? 
Certainly, the pandemic has dramatically changed people’s lifestyles, and implicitly, their interaction with the online environment, with new habits emerging, while among older generations there has been a lot of reluctance regarding digital payments. The digital customer base has ballooned, which suddenly opened up a whole new market where businesses can cross borders and reach out to digital consumers all over the world. 
The second trend we’re seeing is the digitisation of B2B, with a lot of digital marketplaces enhancing their capabilities and embedded finance technology creating seamless experiences for both businesses and consumers. 
How can the industry further transform cross-border payment experiences while also considering localisation in terms of payment methods, regulations, and other key country-specific requirements? 
In addition to the challenges outlined above, localisation requirements represent another point of friction, because there are many aspects to consider, such as various preferences of receiving money, currency volatility, local compliance, and paperwork. All of these are constantly updating at different levels, and a business must focus on high production and cross-border shipments rather than on a certain country’s needs and requirements. 
Players like Nium can remove this source of friction and help businesses unfold more opportunities to sell across borders. With local licences and operations in 17 different cities around the world, we ingest all the local needs seamlessly into one platform. Thanks to the automation and compliance features built into our platform, international companies can send and receive payments just like they would in their domestic market. 
What are some of the best practices Nium brings to the table that will be useful to businesses in driving payments transformation? 
Our goal is to overcome inertia in B2B payments. The era of checks and faxing purchase orders has long passed, and one of the best practices would be to actually be aware of the digital evolution and check carefully to see what you’re missing out on a competitive edge, how you can get money faster, how you can ease the payment processes for your customers. For this reason, we bring the embedded finance mindset into play. 
It is also important to select the right payment provider, one that focuses on scalability, with an enriched API suite so that your payments can be on the right platform at the right time. Nium has a global presence, enabling payins, payouts, card issuing, and many other services, all at a global scale.
This interview was first published in our Cross-Border Payments and Ecommerce Report 2021–2022, which taps into the fast-growing cross-border market and provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments that are pivotal in this space, being the ultimate source of information for ecommerce businesses interested in expanding globally.

About Frederick Crosby
Frederick Crosby is the Chief Revenue Officer at Nium, a global platform for modern money movement that provides banks, payment providers, travel companies, and businesses of any size with access to global payment services via one API. He leads the global Business Development, Marketing, and Communications teams that have helped inform and transform business models for banks, fintechs, and other platforms that needed new payment capabilities in this quickly evolving digital age, and that have made Nium one of the fastest growing global fintechs in the payment space.
About Nium
Nium is the global platform for modern money movement. It provides banks, payment providers, and businesses of any size with access to global payment and card issuance solutions. Its modular platform powers frictionless commerce, helping businesses pay and get paid across the globe. Once connected to the Nium platform, businesses are able to pay out in more than 100 currencies to over 190 countries – 85 of which in real time. Funds can be received in 27 markets, including Southeast Asia, UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, India, and the US. Nium’s growing card issuance business is already available in 34 countries, including Europe (SEPA), the UK, Australia and Singapore. Nium’s license portfolio covers 11 of the world’s jurisdictions, enabling seamless global payments and rapid integration, regardless of geography.
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