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Why you should accept B2B credit card payments

A yoga instructor pays business bills online with a credit card.

Life is full of little injustices. Sometimes it’s that person cutting in line in front of you at the bakery and getting the last pie. Other times it’s being a business owner and watching consumers use a credit card to pay for every expense, while you’re left carrying a checkbook.

Paying with a card helps consumers plan their spending while earning card rewards in the process. These benefits can be invaluable, especially for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)—always scrambling for a cash flow boost—yet they’re unavailable to them. That’s because, unlike consumer transactions, business-to-business (B2B) deals still call for checks as a primary payment method.

Well, it’s time to reevaluate this inequity.

The B2B payment method conundrum

Close your eyes and think about the last time you wrote a personal check. If nothing comes to mind, it’s probably because the use of paper checks for consumer or personal purposes has never been lower.

According to a survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, consumers used checks for just 7% of their transactions. Another more recent survey suggests that 45% of Americans haven’t written a single check in 2022.

But, when we turn our gaze to B2B transactions, we see something peculiar. According to a 2022 report by PYMNTS, 81% of businesses still use checks to pay other companies, and around 40% of all business transactions are done by check.

In other words, people who probably don’t even own a personal checkbook are still writing and accepting physical checks for business transactions.

The reasons for this enigmatic behavior vary but usually have to do with the cautious nature of the species known as “business owner.” A business owner’s philosophy is typically composed of two main elements: don’t rock the boat and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

But, what if it is broke and both you and your B2B customers are missing out on the flexibility and benefits of credit card payments?

What’s so bad about checks, anyway?

While they are familiar and widely used by businesses, paper checks also have quite a few disadvantages.

They’re expensive!

Most people don’t think about the cost of paper checks. But, if you take into account labor, bank fees, the cost of the check itself, postage, paper, etc., you’ll find each check costs the paying party $4-$20 and the recipient about $2 apiece. That adds up to a lot of money for all parties involved.

They’re an inconvenience

Checks, especially when written by hand, take extra time and attention to write. They require owning both a checkbook and a pen and are prone to misspellings and errors. Not to mention, you risk getting ink smudges on your fingers, which, as England’s King Charles recently experienced, isn’t very pleasant.

They can get lost or stolen

The thing about physical objects, like paper checks, is that they need to be transported from place to place in order to have any value. A check in the mail, for example, is very much a Schrödinger’s cat situation—the check is at the same time both a payment that’s on its way and a lost piece of paper. That is at least until (and if) it is received and deposited.

If it isn’t, then your payment is going to be late and you’re also exposed to some additional risk, which leads us to our next item.

They raise safety concerns

Let’s take a moment to consider the information checks provide to whoever happens to intercept them, should they be lost or stolen. Checks expose the payor’s identity, bank details, address, and signature for anyone to see, opening the door to check fraud and identity theft.

How common is it, you ask? According to a recent survey by the Association for Financial Professionals, 63% of organizations experienced check fraud in 2022, making it the payment method most vulnerable to fraud.

Why your B2B customers want you to accept credit cards

There are other payment methods out there but credit cards come with unique benefits making them a favorable option for consumers and businesses alike.

Here are three of the main benefits business customers name when choosing to pay bills with a credit card.

Extra float

No business can thrive for long without positive cash flow. For this to happen, businesses must carefully balance between paying their bills on time to maintain good vendor relations and ensuring there’s enough money left to cover other expenses, including unexpected costs and growth opportunities.

Paying with a card lets businesses hang on to cash longer without damaging their vendor relations by paying late. That’s because the payment is sent to the vendor right away while they’re only charged on their card’s next billing cycle. This means up to 60 days of additional float, which go a long way for a small business that’s waiting for incoming payments to clear.

Paying with a credit card can be like taking a short-term loan without applying for one or affecting the business’s credit score. This comes especially handy when it’s an unexpected or large payment.

Card rewards

You gotta spend money to make money, right? All businesses have expenses (and a lot of them) and those need to be paid. But, who said businesses shouldn’t collect points, miles, and cashback on these payments?

Using a card for business payments that normally go unrewarded can help pay for an upcoming trip or any other expense that is crucial for the development of your customer’s business.


Paying with a card makes it easy to track the business’s expenses and make sure nothing is overlooked. This goes a long way when it’s time to file their taxes and allows business owners to keep a closer eye on spending throughout the year.

Why accepting credit cards for B2B transactions is good for you

We’ve covered why your customers want to pay by card but, what’s in it for you? Glad you asked! Here are the top ways accepting credit cards helps your business.

Get paid faster

The added convenience of paying with a card will also just make it easier for customers to pay on time or even sooner. Plus, there’s no more waiting around for a check to arrive.

Credit card payments are also processed more quickly than checks or bank transfers, so, if you allow them, the money will be in your bank account more quickly.

Improve your relationships with customers

Everyone loves to feel seen, and that’s especially true for your loyal customers. One way to do that is to give them a better choice of payment methods, allowing them to enjoy the flexibility of credit cards when needed, alongside the low cost of an ACH bank transfer.

Taking your customers’ needs into account and providing them with the payment solutions they prefer, will help create loyalty and trust, that will foster a positive and profitable relationship for both parties.

Increase sales

Trust us. You don’t want to lose a sale because you can’t accommodate a customer who wants (or needs) to pay with a credit card. Especially if many of your competitors only accept checks, cash, or bank transfers, which is true for most B2B businesses, accepting credit cards gives you a competitive edge you don’t want to miss.

How much does accepting credit cards for B2B payments cost?

The average processing fee for credit card deals ranges between 1.5% and 3.5% depending on your service provider and the type of card used.

BUT, and that’s a big but, if you use Melio’s online B2B payment platform, you can accept credit cards at zero cost to you and receive the money directly to your bank account within a day. When your customers choose to pay with a card through Melio, they’re charged an additional 2.9% fee for this added convenience.

What are you waiting for?

Managing your incoming payments and accounts receivable (AR) online with Melio means you can start accepting credit cards from B2B customers today. It’s a win-win: You get the money faster to your bank account, while your customers enjoy the flexibility and convenience of choosing their preferred payment method.

Take a few moments to sign up for Melio for a better way to get paid.

*This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as financial advice.
**Melio does not provide legal, tax or accounting advice, and you should consult with a professional advisor before making any financial decisions.