B2B payment processing buyer’s guide

Technology adoption has exploded in the past several years. With the amount of choice available for B2B payments, digital communications and other business workflow tools, narrowing down the best option is a challenge.
Impact of pandemic on B2B Payments per Mastercard Study

What are B2B payments?

Business to customer payments (B2C) and business to business payments (B2B) have many features in common. If your company takes both types of payments, you may be tempted to use a basic B2C software to fulfill all of your payment communication needs.

In reality, B2B payment software can solve many more problems for businesses that serve both companies and the general public.

Typical B2C payments

Generally, a B2C transaction is a point of sale or one-time payment through an ecommerce online payment portal. These transactions are often fast and simple, involving just a single interaction to make the sale.

Typical B2B payments

B2B payments usually include a more complex buyer's journey, involving multiple employees or departments. For example, a B2B transaction may involve:

  • a salesperson to get a commitment from a customer
  • an onboarding team to gather necessary paperwork and set expectations about the billing and payment process
  • an accounts receivable team to create and send invoices and collect down payments, deposits or outstanding bills
of small businesses have modernized their business payments with digital services
Source: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200825005299/en/Mastercard-Study-Shows-COVID-19-a-Catalyst-for-Digital-B2B-Payments-Adoption

What types of businesses need B2B payments?

Some companies may not know whether they need B2B payment processing or can get by with a basic ecommerce solution. Many industries benefit from B2B payment platforms but a few examples that fit particularly well are:

  • B2B Payments for Manufacturing - Manufacturing companies often send agreements to customers for signature and need to take a deposit before a big order is processed.

  • B2B Payments for Professional Services - Professional services like marketing or design firms need to send itemized bills for work done and a payment request at the same time.

  • B2B Payments for Wholesalers/Suppliers - Wholesalers and suppliers need an easy way to store customer details and process payments on their due date. Because delivery dates and order details can change, these industries need flexible payment scheduling tools.

Does your business collect signatures and send out meeting notes, contracts or other documents to customers? Do you need to take payments at the same time you collect an esignature? Do you need a flexible way to store payment details and schedule payments?

These complex business workflows can’t be accomplished with a lot of the basic payment systems available. So how do you know what you need? Here are the main features B2B businesses should consider when picking a B2B payment processor.

Built-in payment security and compliance

Security: Protect against data breaches

The most obvious reason to find a secure B2B payment solution is to keep your company safe from data breaches. Pick a company:

  • With a good reputation
  • With transparent security practices
  • With easy-to-contact employees
  • With knowledge and expertise in matters of payment information security

Prevent fraudulent transactions

Fraudulent transactions can happen to any business but they should be minimized when possible. It’s a hassle to process illegitimate transactions and can hurt your bottom line (and reputation).

If a fraudulent charge does get processed, your company must then spend time and money fighting a chargeback and paying fees on a disputed transaction. In extreme cases, high chargeback ratios can even shut down your credit card processing merchant account.

Build trust with customers

Your customers need to trust your business – especially for companies where consumers need to pay a down payment or deposit up front. They need to have confidence that your company will act appropriately and fulfill the work as agreed.

What does security look like in your B2B payment software?

Security is essential when it comes to handling customer payment data. Companies need to partner with vendors that take payment security and compliance seriously. Payment software should come with features that protect data and reduce your risk.
Payment Data Tokenization Infographic

Credit card/bank account tokenization and encryption

Tokenization and encryption are security measures that keep private information safe when it's being digitally transferred, used, or stored. Credit card and bank account numbers should be tokenized and encrypted so your customers can make safe digital payments.

  • Tokenization - Tokenization is when meaningful data (like a credit card or bank account number) is replaced with a string of random digits – the token. Tokens enhance security by masking real information, keeping actual data safe.
  • Encryption - Encryption is the act of scrambling important information – both during transmission and when it's being stored. Like tokenization, the scrambled information makes it safer to send or store data.

Internal and external vulnerability scans

Any company that handles payment information should be conducting vulnerability scans and scheduling regular external security audits. This is required for PCI compliance and ensures the software won’t be easily breached.
“As payments become faster and easier to make, fraud can be harder to detect and prevent. A 2022 survey of business end users, financial institutions (FIs) and other relevant parties revealed that more than half had experienced fraud related to their faster payments offerings. Now that payments can be initiated and settled in seconds, businesses must adopt tools to verify invoices and authenticate payors’ and payees’ bank accounts and other important information.”
Source: PYMNTS https://www.pymnts.com/news/b2b-payments/2023/invoice-verification-slows-pace-of-real-time-business-payments-fraud/

ACH/Credit Card verification to prevent fraud

Along with backend processes, there are features that can help to stop fraudulent payments from processing. Look for software that offers ways to verify a bank account or credit card number before a transaction is processed, so you know up front that payment information is accurate.

For example, PDCflow offers ACH Verify and Card Verify technology for payments. Using payment verification, employees or self-serve customers will be notified whether payment details are valid as soon as they’re entered. This reduces returned payments and eliminates the need to reach out to a customer later for correct payment information.

Compliance: Common payment communication concerns

There are rules tied to every industry. Payments are no different. When shopping for B2B payment solutions companies should understand what security and payment compliance measures are built into the software. Some payment and other compliance concerns your payment software should help you solve:

Payment Card Industry (PCI) Compliance

PCI compliance rules were created by the Payment Card Industry to ensure credit card information stays secure during transactions, no matter what type of business a customer is patronizing.

A company’s PCI compliance responsibilities will differ based on the size of the company and how much work a payment processor does to comply.

PCI DSS Compliance Takes Year Round Commitment from Your Payment Processor

Regulation E

Regulation E, which is part of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA), requires companies that participate in Electronic Funds Transfers (EFTs) to follow certain rules. For merchants, the elements you need to stay compliant are:

  • Ability to send receipts to customers so they have a record of their transaction.
  • Ability to capture and store signed payment authorizations to prove your customer has reviewed and approved a payment schedule.


Much like the card industry governs card payments, Nacha is the body that governs ACH payments to ensure they are safe for customers.


For those who transmit documents containing personal health information, it’s possible to use your payment software to use HIPAA compliant document transfers – and even take a payment in the same workflow.

Features that help with compliance

Your B2B payment vendor should be able to explain how their software simplifies payment and communication compliance. Some of the ways PDCflow helps with compliance are:

  • Automatic receipts - are sent to customers after a transaction to comply with Regulation E.
  • Dual factor authentication - requires customers to verify their identity before opening a sensitive message using a shared secret you provide. This protects messages, allowing you to send HIPAA compliant communications.
  • Flow Technology - our message delivery system sends an email or text, so customers enter payment information themselves during a transaction. Your business never has to hear, see or store card and bank account numbers, reducing PCI compliance scope.
Learn more about payment processing security and compliance

Multiple payment types and methods

What is multichannel payment software?

Multichannel payments (sometimes called omnichannel payments) mean that your software can take payments through several different methods. Software that offers many channels to engage consumers helps you cater to customer preference and collect more payments.

Why are multiple channels important?

Not every customer pays the same way, has the same needs or prefers the same type of communication. Some people are more likely to answer a text, or want to pay through an online portal vs. by phone. The more choices you give to people, the more timely payments you’ll capture.

What to look for

As technology advances, more B2B payment methods emerge. Using an omnichannel strategy is the most effective way to capture payments from all types of customers, since you’re offering options for every preference. The most common, useful payment options to look for are:

Payment options

  • Credit cards - Credit card payments are popular and people expect most companies to offer them. In B2B payments, customers often pay with a corporate credit card, so you should make sure they have the option.
  • ACH payments - If your company charges a convenience fee for credit cards, you need to offer a secondary payment option that doesn’t charge a fee – like B2B ACH payments. Along with this, some customers prefer offering bank account details for recurring payments so they never have to worry about updating expired payment information.

Payment channels

  • Pay by Text- Text messaging is the fastest way to encourage customers to read your messages. Open rates for texting are high and texts make it much easier to sign a contract, pay a deposit, etc.
  • Pay by Email - Similar to texting, email is a much faster, more engaging way to talk to your customers.
  • QR codes - Adding a QR code onto a paper billing statement is an effective way to encourage self-serve payments. Scanning a QR code leads the payer directly to their payment page, eliminating the need to type in a URL or navigate a website.
  • Pay by Chat - If your company uses a customer service chat system or an AI chatbot, find B2B payment software that helps you send a payment page directly to a customer through a chat, so they can pay while still chatting with your company.
Learn more about payment channels and types for business-to-business payments

Improved efficiency with B2B billing

Everyone knows that efficiency is how companies improve and grow. Efficiency in payment software can help you reach company goals and improve how you interact with your customers through:

  • Better processes - make it simpler for you to send documents to customers or request esignatures, photo uploads or payments.
  • Greater customer satisfaction - faster workflows and more efficient ways of communicating makes customers happy.
  • Easier workload for staff - not having to take extra manual steps during work is always a win for your staff.

What does efficiency look like in your software?

There are many ways to make payment workflows more efficient. A few of the most common ways to streamline payment processes and enhance the customer experience are through:

Streamlined workflows

Roll more actions into a single customer communication so you only have to reach out once to send agreements, get signatures and take deposits or payments, etc. This makes communications less confusing for customers.

Automation features

More automation features reduce the amount of work employees need to do to collect a payment.

  • event notifications to groups and individuals
  • reminders for each recurring payment in a schedule

Robust reporting

Your B2B payment software should offer reporting that makes it more efficient to track your payments and accounts. If you send documents and collect esignatures and photos along with payments, you should be able to access all of these details in one place.

Self-serve options

Offering ways customers can pay without talking to your staff makes it easy to take a high volume of payments without overwhelming employees. Self-serve payments are also ideal for customers who dislike doing business over the phone or need to make payments outside of regular business hours.

Faster payment cycles

If you deliver invoices or send customers to a payment page directly from an email or text message, customers pay faster. Using digital payment communications (instead of relying on traditional mail or phone calls) means you get your money faster.

User-friendly and intuitive

Paying an invoice should be quick, easy, and painless, no matter who you work with. Whether your customers make B2B transactions or general consumers, you need a simple, user-friendly payment system.

Why focus on how software looks to users?

It’s common to let customers pay without the help of an employee but that means you have to give people the right tools. Easy payment workflows and a better user experience mean more customers will complete payments instead of abandoning them.

Another reason to focus on user experience? If you make processes easy, customers leave happier. Satisfied customers boost good reviews during post-transaction surveys and elsewhere on the internet.

Companies should also find tools that make internal processes more intuitive. You don’t want systems that take extensive training to use.

What makes software user-friendly?

What features make up a user friendly software?

  • No login/password just to make a payment
  • Easy reporting/reconciliation
  • Easy customer workflows (how many clicks/actions does it take to sign a document or pay a bill?)
  • Easy for staff to learn

Gain additional insights about customer experience and how it can impact your business.

Training and customer support

The customer support vendors offer (whether for B2B payments or other parts of your operation) is essential. If something goes wrong, you need help with administrative settings or want advice on how to maximize your ROI, you’ll need to talk to experts. Make sure the products you buy come with robust customer support that addresses all of your needs.

Account setup

How easy is it to buy software and get a merchant account approved? The payment processor you choose should be able to answer questions about the underwriting process:

  • How long does it take to be approved?
  • Does the vendor have merchant service provider (MSP) partnerships?
  • If you work in a high risk industry, is there still a possibility of underwriting approval?
  • Are there actual employees available to answer your questions?

Personalized training

Most software has settings and features you may not think to take advantage of. If your software vendor offers personalized training from an expert, they can pinpoint relevant workflows, features and settings.

Training can also make it easier for your company to get started faster. Instead of spending days fumbling around to understand what you can do, a training session can help you focus your efforts and start processing payments as soon as possible.

Customer support

There’s nothing more stressful than trying to get support without a reliable way to reach a representative. You need to know if something happens, you’ll have experts ready to help you find answers. What are the signs of a good support team?

  • Fast response times
  • In-house support teams
  • Multiple ways to reach a support member (phone, email, ticketing systems)
  • Offers trainings and other expertise

Integration options

Of course, companies that take B2B payments may not want or need a front end that customers will see. Rather, they may want payments integrated into a system of record or only need certain elements of a software.

Common types of integration

There are a few different ways a business usually decides to integrate. Some companies might want to find a system of record that already partners with a payment system. This way, all the work of integration is already done.

For most companies though, it’s becoming more common to choose the payment system they want and integrate its features into their current products.

This is the ideal option for organizations that have already built their own software and want payment data or functionality all in one place. For this option, look for a payment solution that offers open APIs, so you can build into your current systems.

Vendors can also be open to new partnerships, especially if they know integration is valuable to their customers. Some companies have found that current systems of record are willing to integrate to new payment solutions at a customer’s request.

What to look for in open API integrations

If you use other software to manage customer records or operate your business, you may find companies with integration partnerships that don’t require any work on your part. However, if you want or need to use API integrations, you should find a software with:

  • Low- code
  • Drop-in components
  • Development support


Cost is often the deciding factor for a big purchase like B2B payment software. Understand, though, that what a tool can do to enhance your business is often more valuable than the dollar amount you pay each month.

How software can reduce costs

A well-designed software reduces costs. You shouldn’t be adopting new tools that don’t actually enhance your business, make things easier or reduce workload and costs. Payment and communication tools should

  • Reduce manual work by rolling several steps of a customer journey into one (delivering contracts, invoices or bills, collecting signatures, payments and photo uploads from customers).
  • Reduce printing and postage costs by using email/SMS messages to communicate with consumers.
  • Save time by eliminating the need for outbound follow up calls about unpaid invoices.

If your company needs secure B2B payment processing software that improves efficiency and customer experience, sign up for a PDCflow demo today.

Want to know more about PDCflow Software?

Press ▶️ to watch our explainer video

See how our Flow Technology can create a one-step workflow for your contracts/invoices and payments. Book a demo today.
Book Demo


Consolidate multi-step processes into one easy step for your staff and customers. Eliminate the need for multiple software vendors. Send all your business transactions in one Flow smart request.
Explore Flow Technology