Mastercard Track will "simplify and automate payments" between businesses.
- Originally launched in 2018, Mastercard Track will encompass all of the company's "current and future B2B payment products."
- The company's new service would bring "all types of payments under one roof."
- The Mastercard Track Business Payment Service will be rolled out early 2020 in the U.S., with plans to expand to the rest of the world afterward.
A major financial company best known for its line of personal and business credit cards is making its way into the business-to-business payments space, as Mastercard has officially unveiled its new brand of products aimed at simplifying transactions between suppliers and sellers.
Dubbed the Mastercard Track Business Payment Service, the new brand will combine multiple modern solutions for B2B transactions with a focus on real-time data collection and faster payments.
While the company has had a hand in various B2B services for a decade through its "virtual cards," James Anderson, Mastercard's executive vice president of commercial products, said today's announcement stemmed from some recent acquisitions that enable the company to better serve businesses of all sizes.
"Over the last few years we've been looking at that opportunity and realizing that a number of the capabilities we have now as a company are relevant to B2B payments," he said. "As we started talking with people in B2B businesses, we found that there were problems that we felt we were well-positioned to solve."
Through the acquisition of the U.K.-based automatic clearing house (ACH) company VocaLink in 2017 and payment company Nets last month, Anderson said Mastercard can now offer a more robust B2B solution. It plans do to so by leveraging each of its B2B payment "rails," like cross-border and account-to-account payments, in an all-in-one solution.
What Mastercard Track brings to the table
Regardless of the industry, all businesses need to make transactions with other businesses in order to run, and it falls on business owners to keep track of each transaction. While numerous companies have helped move that process onto computers and the internet, Mastercard's new Track brand of services will try to bring the many facets of B2B buying and selling under a single program.
Track will do this, according to Mastercard, by letting businesses customize how their B2B transactions and the information that needs to be tracked are managed.
"The business world has accelerated, but the payments that enable it are stuck in neutral," Anderson said. "Mastercard Track helps supplier and buyer partners tackle the systemic challenges of business-to-business payments, reinventing how businesses send and receive funds so B2B payments can keep pace with innovation and liberate enterprises from the inefficiencies throughout the system."
Anderson said Track can be broken down into three main features:
- Payment type variety and customization. Under Track, Mastercard will let business owners choose how they make and receive payments from ACH or card-based options under the Track Business Payment Service. Suppliers can set custom payment preferences, while buyers can use the service to find new suppliers and learn how they like to be paid before committing to a transaction.
- Utilization of common standards. Officials said the Track Business Payment Service relies on "the leading PCI and ISO standards to maximize automation and secure data exchange." It speeds up the reconciliation process by supporting all file formats. Transparency is also important to the service, as supplier terms and conditions will be easily applied to all payments through a "centralized directory."
- Detailed data exchanges. In today's data-driven world, it's important to have as much information as possible available at a moment's notice. As such, Mastercard says each transaction will be processed with remittance data, including "buyer identification information and corresponding invoice numbers."
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Available to businesses of all sizes through partners
As Mastercard prepares for its global rollout of Track early next year with the U.S. as its staging ground, the company says it will work with existing partners to ensure all types of businesses can benefit from the service. Even companies that already have a B2B payment model or partner may be able to utilize the Track suite, as the company's existing partnerships can utilize the service.
Other B2B solutions like Fundbox Pay, PayPal and Square, according to Anderson, can sign up to implement Track's services for their clients where they become "value-adds" that serve to benefit any business.
"The fact of the matter is that large companies buy from small companies, midmarket [companies] sell to large companies – it's a complete mesh, so what we want to be able to do is make it so we can offer to build to scale and be able to make it consumable [regardless of the business size]," Anderson said. "Our intention is to serve all sizes of business because they all are important to us – as is their need to be efficient."