Bottomline Technologies (NASDAQ:EPAY), a leading provider of technology solutions to help businesses pay and get paid, today announces the results of its 2017 B2B Payments & WCM Strategies Survey, which was jointly sponsored with Bank of America Merrill Lynch and managed by Strategic Treasurer. The survey reveals the significant market opportunity for banks to innovate in business payments for their corporate clients.

Finance leaders surveyed indicated that they select bank partners based on the strength of their business payment offerings – with 45 percent citing this as either an important or major factor in the selection process.

Efficiency and productivity were selected as the primary drivers for automation of the accounts payable process, and ACH was selected as the most efficient payment type. Despite more than half of respondents (55 percent) viewing cards as a less efficient business payment method than ACH or wire, 26 percent indicated they will increase spend on card programs in the coming year. This increased card usage is likely fueled by other working capital optimization benefits card provides, such as delayed settlement and rebates.

Additionally, nearly one in four finance leaders (23 percent) said they process more than $1B in accounts payable spend annually, highlighting a sizeable opportunity for banks.

“As our study confirms, business payment offerings are a critical factor for many clients when it comes to bank selection,” said Craig Jeffery, Managing Partner at Strategic Treasurer. “There is a major opportunity for the banking sector to innovate and meet clients’ needs for efficient business payment solutions.”

“It is clear that the emphasis is on banks to help their clients streamline payments,” said Jessica Moran, General Manager of Cloud Payment Solutions from Bottomline Technologies. “By making card transactions as efficient as ACH and combining all payment types (card, ACH, check, wire) into a single process, banks can enable their clients to maximize AP spend automation, cost-savings, and rebates.”

The 2017 B2B Payments and WCM Strategies Survey captured the responses of 335 corporate and bank practitioners at some of the world’s largest businesses and financial institutions. The survey polled respondents on their views on new and evolving payments technology, payment security, working capital management, and the current regulatory environment.