BCE and Visa team to provide B2B payment solution

Ninety billion business-to-business (B2B) transactions at US$50 trillion per year – those are the global numbers Montreal-based BCE Emergis Inc. and Visa International estimate their expanded “non-card based” payment service will yield.

BCE Emergis said Monday that it was selected by San Francisco-headquartered Visa International to support worldwide development and hosting of Visa Commerce, its global B2B payment and information management solution. The software solution is currently in pilot mode and expected to be fully rolled out in 2003.

Available through Visa’s 21,000-member financial institutions worldwide, the Visa Commerce software solution will offer users a Visa/bank-branded payment account, an optional Web-based user interface, and a payment transaction platform known as VisaNet.

Spokesperson John Gutpell said the partnership extends globally the Visa Commerce development and hosting agreement made in July 2001 with Visa U.S.A. and its 14,000 U.S. banks. Transaction platform VisaNet network will now be the backbone for international transactions, Gutpell added.

Corporate customers – buyers, sellers and service providers – will use Visa Commerce to pay and settle supply chain and purchasing transactions.

“This service goes after what is now basically the paper-chequing market…the [solution] addresses the portion of the market that is not already hardwired for large regular payments – the sort of indirect spend…” Gutpell said.

The “non-card based” solution enables buyers to integrate backend and procurement systems to better manage domestic and cross-border payments, while offering suppliers easier tracking of electronic payments, the companies said.

Extending BCE Emergis’s relationship allows Visa to speed global implementation of Visa Commerce while reducing development costs at the same time, said Lory Yeakle, senior vice-president of Global commercial Solutions at Visa International.

Central to BCE Emergis’ B2B strategy, said BCE Emergis CEO Pierre Blouin in a prepared statement, is delivering efficiency to Visa and its member financial institutions.

Several well-known financial institutions are implementing Visa Commerce pilot programs, Blouin said, and added that “financial institutions should take the lead in B2B payments because of their trusted and efficient role in financial settlement and treasury management services.”

BCE Emergis Inc. in Montreal is at http://www.emergis.com.

Visa International is at http://www.corporate.visa.com.