Top 5 B2B payments trends set to continue in 2023

The year 2022 has been a big year for the payments industry, as businesses and consumers alike grow more and more accepting and expectant of digital solutions.
Both alternative and traditional payment methods have soared in the B2B industry over recent years. According to recent data from Statista, the value of payments in the B2B sector reached $49 trillion USD (approximately £43.5 trillion GBP) in 2021 and is forecast to reach $54 trillion (approximately £48 trillion GBP) in 2023.
Several trends have contributed to the growth in value of payments in the B2B industry, with many of these trends being centered around a digital-first approach to payments. From shifts in customers’ preferred payment methods to optimisation of the B2B payment process, embracing up-to-date trends in payments is essential for achieving high-level success in 2022 and beyond.
In this blog, as we near the end of 2022 and head into 2023, we discuss the top five trends in payments throughout the year we expect to continue in 2023. Keep reading to learn about changing customer expectations, emerging B2B opportunities, and more.
Without further ado, let’s jump into the first and arguably biggest trend — the shift away from traditional payment methods.

1. Out with the old, in with the new - Real-Time Payments

Real-time payments (RTP) refer to payments that are initiated, approved and settled instantly. With the growing popularity of digital payments and alternative payment methods, RTPs have seen an incredible amount of growth and widespread adoption.

Looking at the value of the RTP market, it grew at an annual growth rate of 34.5% from 2021 to 2022, increasing from $15.91 billion (approximately £14 billion GBP) to $21.41 billion (approximately £19 billion GBP). This tremendous growth is expected to continue at an estimated rate of 32.9%, reaching a value of $66.76 billion (approximately £59.5 billion GBP) in 2026.

The use of RTPs has seen a significant amount of success in peer-to-peer transactions — but as the mechanisms of RTPs continue to mature, we are likely to begin seeing an expansion of how RTPs are used in both business-to-customer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) transactions as well.

According to Deloitte’s Payments Trends 2022 report, key business use cases for RTPs include bill pay, payroll, and request-for-pay. Additionally, the Deloitte report states that one of the most prominent uses for RTP in the business ecosystem today is supporting instant payments provided to gig workers, such as freelancers and contractors.

As businesses continue to uncover and tap into the potential value of RTPs for both B2C and B2B purposes, this will result in a faster movement away from traditional payment methods.

This is due primarily to traditional payment methods requiring up to two weeks for settlements to go through, while RTPs offer the capability for instant settlements. In turn, RTPs offer greater convenience and efficiency to customers, businesses, and business partners, paving the way for RTPs to become the new norm for all types of transactions.

2. Increased focus on the U.S. Middle Market for B2B Payments

The middle market — particularly in the United States — has long been underserved when it comes to payment services.

According to Deloitte, the middle market in the U.S. is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the country’s economy, accounting for more than $6.6 trillion (approximately £5.8 trillion GBP) in revenues. Yet, this sector faces a tremendous number of pain points and unmet needs when it comes to payments.

For payment companies and other payment services providers, the U.S. middle market is likely to become a sector of high focus for business in 2022 and beyond. As UK based, U.S. domestic and international players begin to expand their presence and role in the U.S. middle market, some of the key payment pain points that will be prioritised for solving include:

  • High processing costs
  • Payment delays
  • Manual AP processing
  • Fraud risk
  • Limited transaction visibility
  • Supplier payment methods
  • Remittance data processing

Moving into late 2022 and early 2023, financial institutions must pay close attention to these pain points, as U.S. middle market businesses strive for better representation in the payments market. This business sector will undoubtedly become a major hub for payments-related business, making the increasing demand for improved B2C and B2B payment processes by the middle market a vital trend to watch.

3. Buy Now, Pay Later: The alternative payment method of the future

Alternative payment methods (aka, any payment method outside of traditional cash, card, and check payments), have soared in popularity ever since the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak.

One of the most popular and fastest-growing alternative payment methods around today is Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) — a method in which a third-party payment services company offers time-limited financing to customers via an interest-free installment loan while still providing full payments to businesses.

In a recent C+R Research survey, 60% of respondents reported having used a BNPL service, with some of the most common items purchased using BNPL including clothing, electronics, furniture, appliance, housewares, and cosmetics.

What this data reveals is that BNPLs are likely to become a massive component in E-commerce payment infrastructures, as customers grow increasingly expectant of the ability to break payments up into smaller pieces rather than having to make full purchases outright.

From a business perspective, this means retail businesses must consider how to activate and integrate BNPL services into their payment systems.

4. Open Banking & Smart Payments pave the way for less manual processes

Open banking has become a core component of the digital transformation of the financial industry, making it simpler to establish connections between traditional financial institutions, Fintechs and other third-party financial service providers.

Similarly to the growth of real-time payments, the open banking market is witnessing considerable growth and is forecasted to reach a value of $19.14 billion (approximately £17 billion GBP) in 2022 at an annual growth rate of 26.5%. By 2026, the open banking market value is expected to reach $48.13 billion (approximately £42.8 billion GBP).

While the rise of open banking has many implications for the payments industry, one of the biggest is the ability for businesses to enable smart payments — a type of automated payment system that reduces the amount of manual work required in the payment process.

For example, many subscription services utilise smart payments to automatically bill customers according to a set schedule. This not only simplifies the billing process for the company but also minimizes the burden on the customer, ensuring payments are always made on time without extra effort from the customer being required.

Like with real-time payments, as smart payments continue to mature, they are likely to offer more uses in the B2B industry as well — such as automatic payouts or automatic invoicing.

5. Payment Orchestration is becoming a key player

Payment orchestration refers to software-based solutions that provide end-to-end payment services for businesses, from initiating transactions to reconciliation.

Though payment orchestration is a relatively new concept in the payment services industry, it is gaining significant traction, as it helps to simplify payment processing for businesses and customers alike. The forecasted annual growth rate of the global payment orchestration platform market size is 22.4% and the market is expected to reach a value of $3.7 billion (approximately £3.2 billion GBP) by 2028, according to MarketWatch.

Key advantages of payment orchestration include:

  • Optimised payment processes and an enhanced customer experience
  • Service aggregation and access to multiple banks and major payment networks
  • Reduced transactional failures due to optimal dynamic routing
  • Greater scalability for merchants and other businesses
  • Automatic reconciliations, reporting, and backups

Overall, payment orchestration is crucial to keep an eye on as we close out 2022 and move into 2023 — especially for businesses who deal with both B2C and B2B payments.

Final Thoughts: Access a Global Banking & Payments Network with Freemarket

As digital innovation continues to impact the evolution of the global payments industry, it is crucial to have a cross-border payments platform you can trust.

Freemarket’s cross-border payments platform and currency exchange provides you with an optimised dashboard and access to a vast network of global banks and payment networks. With our tailored b2b payment solutions designed to fit your exact needs — as well as our team’s deep market knowledge — we have the dedication, expertise, security and resiliency your business needs to send & receive payments and embrace payment trends with success.

To get started with Freemarket, book an intro call today!



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