In the first of our API blog series, Adflex CEO, Pat Bermingham detailed three significant advantages APIs bring to the world of digital B2B payments. In this follow-up, Pat explores four more simple ways merchants and buyers benefit from using B2B payment services built on flexible APIs.

1. Payment links: creating simplicity in reconciliation

APIs unlock a world of possibilities when it comes to acceptance services. They simplify integration and give merchants flexibility to accept payments in a way that suits their business. Many B2B industries are negatively affected by late payments, which can cause serious cash flow issues; this needn’t be the case though, and APIs are helping merchants to make it as easy as possible for their buyers to pay for goods and services.

One new API-enabled technology is payment links. A merchant shares a custom link with a customer, via SMS, email or electronic invoice, that directs them to a secure, hosted payment page. Payments can be made anytime, anywhere, and for repeat customers, details can be securely stored using card on file and tokenization technologies, removing the need to cumbersomely re-enter card details.

Payment links are faster and easier to use than legacy mail order and telephone order (MOTO) transactions. They are also far more secure, as individual links are deactivated once a payment is made, and card details are only handled by the buyer. It is also likely that some MOTO payments may fall short of SCA regulations, as they don’t meet two of the three authentication requirements (something you know, such as a password; something you have, such as a mobile device; and something you are, such as a fingerprint scan.)

2. Tokenized card details slash the risk of fraud

APIs can also enable security-enhancing technologies such as tokenization. This is the process of removing debit, credit or purchasing card data from a company’s internal network and replacing the sensitive data (such as the 16-digit card number, or ‘PAN’) with a surrogate value called a token.

The token is unique to the tokenized card and because it does not use a mathematical process to transform the sensitive information into the token (which is what happens with ‘encryption’), it cannot be used to access the original data. The token is stored in a database (a secure card ‘vault’), which means the merchant doesn’t ever handle sensitive card data, reducing their PCI-DSS scope and ensuring compliance.

By removing the transmission of sensitive data, tokenization greatly reduces the risk of fraud. This is one reason why buyer confidence in digital payment methods is so high, contributing to the rising uptake of commercial cards for B2B transactions. Through APIs, tokenization technology can be seamless integrated into payment gateway services to ensure a seamless and secure digital payment experience for buyers.

3. Support multiple eCommerce extensions

There are more options than ever available to merchants looking to sell goods online. By using eCommerce software extensions, suppliers can find new revenue streams and unlock markets that were previously out of reach. Once again, APIs play a key role here, supporting the integration of popular marketplace extensions like Magento or WooCommerce into existing platforms.

Integrating eCommerce extensions into a user’s existing platform via an API helps to bring all the transaction data into one place, so it can add value to tax remittance and reporting, as well as offering transparency of cash flow, enabling better-informed decision making and resource allocation. This means that merchants experience the advantages and extra revenue streams of selling goods across multiple platforms, avoiding the chaos of using other – often fragmented – platforms.

4. Choice and control with acquirer agnostic technology

A merchant’s chosen payment platform is often locked into a particular acquiring bank, meaning they are often stuck with their acquirer’s gateway solution.

Adflex takes a different approach and believes B2B payment services should be acquirer agnostic. This means we can work with a merchant’s existing provider, or set up a new merchant bank account with clear rates, detailed reporting and local settlement – all of which can lead to tangible savings. An acquirer agnostic approach allows users to choose a bank that works for them and benefit from lower merchant service fees.

Not only do merchants have free choice of acquirers thanks to seamless API integrations, but the redevelopment costs of changing acquirer are also drastically reduced. This was previously a huge barrier facing merchants looking to change accounts, as it required a complete system overhaul, costing time and money that many businesses simply (and rightly) wanted to avoid.

APIs really are the building blocks of modern, efficient digital payments, particularly in a B2B world where high merchant service charges have long been a deterrent to change. APIs enable the swift integration of new services within a user’s platform, reducing development times and giving merchants the opportunity to experience the benefits of whichever solutions most meet their business needs. Quite simply, APIs mean choice, simplicity and flexibility for every business.