Biz Invoice to make SME payment collection easier

- By Collaborative Media & Publishing
There’s a perception among Australian small businesses that BPAY is a payment method that’s only used by big corporations. After all, we’re all familiar with BPAY biller codes on the invoices of power companies, telcos and insurance companies.
The reality is that BPAY can benefit businesses of any size, by offering customers an easy way to pay – which helps support healthy cash flow.
Westpac and BPAY are working together to combat the BPAY misperception, with the recent upgrade of Biz Invoice – the Westpac online invoicing tool. Biz Invoice allows small businesses to easily generate and issue invoices online through their banking app, and a BPAY payment option can now be added to these invoices.
According to Drew Unsworth, Head of Digital Banking Transformation and Performance, Business Bank at Westpac, many small businesses - particularly sole traders - don’t have accounting software. This provides Westpac with a tangible target market for the complimentary invoicing tool.
Customers log in to their online banking portal and can easily produce professional-looking branded invoices, which are automatically and correctly reconciled once each invoice is paid.
Importantly, businesses can offer a choice of payment options including BPAY – once their account is established. Unsworth explains that the major benefit for these businesses is that BPAY will enable them to start accepting credit card payments, which cost 80 cents plus GST per transaction.
“The app solves two problems for small businesses, Unsworth says. “We’ve made it easy to create and send invoices; and we’ve made it easy to add a BPAY option onto these invoices.
“Sole traders simply apply with one click and a few days later they will be accredited to take BPAY payments.”
Take up so far has been strong, says Unsworth, and is likely to grow as Westpac undertakes a marketing campaign promoting the service.
“We see not just a positive reaction from our customers, but when we speak to our frontline staff at our branches and contact centres, they’re really excited about Biz Invoice and BPAY because it’s just a really easy, simple concept. We’ve got staff in 600 branches who are now trained to explain to customers how Biz Invoice and BPAY can help their businesses."
Added credibility for SMEs
The adoption of BPAY by SMEs represents a significant change in customer habit. BPAY Group surveyed small businesses about a year ago and found they had a high opinion of the payment provider but didn’t think it was for them.
Keith Brown, General Manager, Product, Scheme and Business Development at BPAY Group, says that despite this response, there were two main reasons why SMEs liked the idea of offering BPAY.
“The brand is very strong in the market because all their customers know about it, and they recognise that having the BPAY logo on their bills would give them a level of credibility, by aligning them with ‘the big boys’,” he says.
“BPAY has an authority that maybe other payment options don’t possess – a trust that the brand brings.”
The second reason for liking BPAY is ease of reconciliation, because when a customer makes a BPAY payment, the reference number that they pay to and the biller code are all fully validated upfront. This reduces the risk of errors and makes it very easy for the biller to reconcile payments back to their original invoices.
This happens automatically for Biz Invoice users receiving payments via BPAY.
“Once they’ve got their BPAY biller code, then customers can use it however they want on any of their invoices. Biz Invoice just automates the process and makes it simpler for them to do so,” Brown says.
Looking to the future, BPAY Group plans to help other institutions offer easy BPAY sign up, following the success of the collaboration with Westpac.
“The research that we did and the pain points we identified and overcame with this service have certainly led to a great customer outcome for small business,” Brown concluded.
This article represents the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BPAY. Published by BPAY Pty Ltd.  BPAY payment products are offered by over 150 Financial Institutions. Contact your Financial Institution to see if it offers BPAY payment products and to get the terms and conditions. This is general advice – before using BPAY payment products please review the terms and conditions and consider whether BPAY payment products are appropriate for your personal circumstances.

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