Magazine article American Banker

AMEX Augments Supply, Payment B-to-B Services

Magazine article American Banker

AMEX Augments Supply, Payment B-to-B Services

Article excerpt

American Express Co. has introduced a pair of business-to-business payment services in what is becoming a crowded market for vendors of corporate supply-chain integration capabilities.

The New York payment card company is tying purchasing and contract-auditing to its S2S source-to-settlement suite of services, which it introduced in March. The upgrades add shopping and compliance-management features to its electronic invoicing and payment service. The product is built on Amex's December purchase of the B-to-B payments vendor Harbor Payments Inc.

Rion Needs, a senior vice president and the general manager of purchasing services at American Express, said the new capabilities, announced Monday at the Institute for Supply Management conference in Las Vegas, will keep Amex at the forefront of this evolving market. "None of the competitors have the capabilities that we have," he said.

The capabilities, which Amex built in-house for its own use starting in 2003, are designed to differentiate its business-to-business payment services in an increasingly crowded space, Mr. Needs said in an interview Tuesday.

The features, called S2S Contract Audit and Recovery, and S2Ssm Catalog Pro, also give Amex a go-to-market strategy for large companies that want to loop their supplier networks into automated payment systems.

Mr. Needs said that more than one-third of corporate purchases are made outside of contracts negotiated with suppliers. Companies lose 22% of every dollar spent on such purchases, he said, citing research from Aberdeen Group in Boston.

Amex plans to offer its audit recovery service on a contingency-fee basis to find lost discounts and to negotiate their return, Mr. Needs said. "Companies don't know they are due these monies, so they're not spoken for."

The company plans to introduce additional features in the third and fourth quarters, he said, for example, offering corporate clients the discounted rates that it has negotiated on its own behalf with suppliers. …

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