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US Bank & Viewpost Help Small Businesses Ditch Checks

US Bank's new partnership with Viewpost North America will enable its small-business customers to drop paper checks for electronic payments and invoicing.

US Bank announced a new partnership with Viewpost North America today at Money 2020 that will allow its small business customers to send and receive electronic payments and invoices through Viewpost’s network. By digitizing payments and invoices, US Bank will eliminate the costs associated with paper checks and manual invoicing processes for its 1.3 million small-business customers. Those customers will also be able to receive payments faster and get real-time data on their invoices and scheduled payments, enabling better cash forecasting.

“Compared with paper, the nice thing about this is it frees up time for our small-business customers to do other things. All the contextual information they need [around their payments and invoices] is stored online. They don’t have to make calls to see when they will receive a payment. They can be mobile and schedule a payment [remotely]. There are so many benefits to making this digital,” Jeff Parker, SVP of small business product and startegy at US Bank, said yesterday.

Viewpost will deliver clarity to small-business owners that they need to run their businesses, Max Eliscu, Viewposts’ CEO said. “Why can I get an update on social media about what my friends are doing for dinner, or track a Fedex package, but I can’t get an update on when I will get paid? Why can’t my customer show the status of their payment more efficiently?”

With electronic invoicing and payments, US Bank’s small businesses can get live updates on the status of payments. And Viewpost has integrated with some of the common accounting systems (like QuickBooks), so that information can automatically get pushed to those systems, Eliscu said.

Eventually, US Bank will integrate that cashflow data with its online banking for small businesses to give its customers a full view of their liquidity and banking relationships, according to Parker.

Electronic payments through Viewpost also helps businesses cut costs and inefficiencies from manual processes associated with accounts payables and receivables. “There are hundreds of studies out there that place the costs associated with a check payment at around four to six dollars. Every [electronic] check for us is 50 cents,” said Eliscu.

Businesses can also turn their receivables into liquidity using Viewpost’s network. They can offer discounts to their partners for early payments when cash is needed right away. “You can turn receivables into pay on demand,” Eliscu added.

The Viewpost network is also free for any business to join.“We are trying to bring the offline business relationships online, and to do that we need scale. We need to remove barriers to adoption. If I send you a payment through Viewpost, you can sign up,” Eliscu said.

Offering these benefits should help US Bank continue to extend its presence in the small-business segment, Parker said. “This segment is very important to us, and we’ve grown a lot in the last 10 years. We’re focused on knowing what our customers need and delivering value to them. This will help differentiate us in the market.”

Jonathan Camhi has been an associate editor with Bank Systems & Technology since 2012. He previously worked as a freelance journalist in New York City covering politics, health and immigration, and has a master's degree from the City University of New York's Graduate School ... View Full Bio

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ANON1250020949448
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ANON1250020949448,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/20/2014 | 6:38:55 AM
Business Payment Centralization Too Risky
Convenience is great, but usually convenience comes at a cost of security. With payments this is vital. I find it disconcerting that we would use 1 platform/1 company to consolidate business to business transactions which is what Viewpost is trying to do. If the company was hacked like Sony every business using their platform would be at serious risk, and that is just one external threat. What about the insider threat where admins/developers understand how to write digital checks to themselves. This platform is ripe for abuse as it inherits the vulnerabilities of every accounting software platform that it hooks into. It is connected to too much and it only takes 1 weak link for the entire house of cards to come tumbling down on the small time CEO using this platform. 
Nathan Golia
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Nathan Golia,
User Rank: Author
11/25/2014 | 9:35:00 PM
Personal experience
My wife is a small business owner and she is always looking for more convenient ways to pay her bills — especially since fraud is common when business owners have a lot of vendors. These types of initiatives will go a long way.
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