The Opportunity in Business Payments

  • Nonbank competitors challenge the way banks serve small business clients. Banks that address key pain points for those customers have a better shot at winning their business — and their loyalty.
  • Financial institutions that can help their small business customers simplify accounts receivable and payable can lock in those relationships in 2023.

When it comes to servicing small business customers while moving forward, it's all about the digital experience: finding the right products, the right services that offer value to your customer base, focusing on those solutions, and then incorporating them and integrating them inside mobile and online banking.

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It's not necessarily about having a lot of things — it's more about doing the core things really well.

Increasingly, banks are having to compete against a variety of technology providers, apps, and online capabilities for small business customer relationships. That's taking place because business owners are looking for new technologies and ways to enhance their day-to-day lives — and that's complicating the way that banks service this customer base. 

Business customers’ expectations are shifting because they're looking for improvements in their business, they're looking for technology improvements, they're looking for efficiency. And that's starting to change the landscape for 2023 because business owners increasingly are looking at technology to improve their business.

The biggest pain point for every business customer is cash flow.   

As bankers, we have to figure out a way to make cash flow not a problem for business customers. Easier said than done! But it starts with helping a business easily get paid by their customers, and making it easy for their customers to pay that business owner. When that happens, deposits increase. Plus, the relationship between the business customer and the bank becomes stronger. 

Banks should think about servicing small business customers in the years ahead by first locking in how a business customer gets paid. It’s just as important to make sure that that the way that they get paid is directly with your organization. When you do that, you ensure that these business owners don't have to rely on a third party for one of their most critical business needs. 

When customers can easily pay a business through a solution you provide, you ensure that those deposits end up back at your organization.

This is the way you begin to build on that relationship moving forward. When it comes to stacking up to large banks and nonbank providers, community banks still win on service. This is great! But where we fall behind is in product capabilities and product experience. The good news is that the technology is here. Now it's time to execute and focus for the benefit of your small business customers.   


Derik Sutton is chief marketing officer at Autobooks. He joined Autobooks in 2018 as vice president of product and experience. As part of the Autobooks executive team, Derik now leads the marketing and industry insights for the team. In this role, he regularly speaks at conferences and helps financial institutions better understand the small business segment and how to best serve their needs.