April 27 , 2011

Amex Bank of Canada launches new B2B payments solution

MARKHAM--Amex Bank of Canada makes a major play in the Canadian business-to-business payments space with the launch of Buyer Initiated Payments (BIP), an automated web-based payments solution that takes paper cheques out of the payment process, helps improve a client's working capital, reduces liquidity risk and offers early payment to suppliers without affecting the buyer's cash position.

"At Amex Bank of Canada, we're seeing growing demand from businesses for help in becoming strategic about payments and expense management," says Rob McClean, Vice President and General Manager, Global Commercial Card, Amex Bank of Canada. "Commercial payments are an important business, as well as a critical area of innovation for us. We are focused on continuing to build our strong position in travel and entertainment spending while aggressively expanding to other categories of corporate spending."

While electronic payments enjoy a 20-year history in the Canadian market, Amex Bank of Canada saw an opportunity to improve an aging model by offering benefits such as working capital improvements and taking on the resourcing needs of supplier enablement/management. Indeed, the new American Express/CFO Research Global Business & Spending Monitor, a survey of 665 senior finance executives from around the world, underscores the Canadian market need for payments solutions that improve working capital and supplier enablement and management.

The survey reveals that among the top business concerns of Canadian CFOs are production process improvements, enhancing relationships with suppliers and improving cash and working capital positions. Fifty-seven percent say that during the economic downturn, they worked to establish closer relationships with their most strategic suppliers and to consolidate their base of suppliers and vendors. And 72% note that their finance team is very or somewhat concerned about their company's ability to maintain the discipline and improvements it achieved during the recession in terms of cash and working capital management discipline.

BIP was designed to address these concerns through a host of user benefits for buyers and suppliers alike, including increased efficiency and savings. Through the platform, the buyer sends a payment instruction file to American Express, who then deposits funds directly into the supplier's bank account. The buyer would then pay American Express at the end of a billing cycle. Furthermore, BIP allows buyers to extend Days Payable Outstanding and decreases Days Sales Outstanding for the supplier, improving cash flow.

"In a tight economy where cash flow is king, companies are more focused than ever on maximizing their working capital and controlling spending," says McClean. "American Express is uniquely qualified to deliver a seamless payments solution and we partner with our clients through every step of the process."

American Express in Canada operates as Amex Bank of Canada and Amex Canada Inc. Both are wholly owned subsidiaries of the New York based American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., the largest operating unit of the American Express Company. Amex Bank of Canada is the issuer of American Express charge and credit cards in Canada, with outstanding products like the American Express® AeroplanPlus® Card, and the American Express® Gold Rewards Card. Amex Canada Inc. operates the Corporate Travel and Travellers Cheques divisions in Canada. American Express opened its first offices in Toronto and Hamilton in 1853 and now employs 3,700 Canadians coast-to-coast.


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