Procurement Cards: Both Buyers and Sellers Benefit

September 27, 2000

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Procurement cards are rapidly becoming the leading payment tool for online purchasing. Significant cost savings, increased control and greater security are just some of the pluses that are making procurement cards the preferred option.

With online business-to-business sales projected to top $327 billion by the year 2002*, it's no wonder that procurement cards are fast becoming the leading online payment tool. Industrial buyers are increasingly discovering the significant time and cost-saving benefits of online purchasing, and specifically, procurement cards. In fact, a growing number of Fortune 500 companies and government agencies are issuing procurement cards to their employees and requesting that their suppliers accept online payment in order to further streamline the purchasing process.

The ability to place and accept orders for goods and services in real-time poses tremendous opportunities for both purchasers and suppliers in the industrial marketplace. For buying organizations, procurement cards provide greater budget and expense control since appropriate spending limits can be established for each card user and specific type of transaction. Purchasing cards can also enable the capture and settlement of enhanced levels of data that help buyers with cost allocation, tax compliance and account reconciliation. Many card issuers also offer purchase security and extended protection plans providing even greater security with online payment participation. By eliminating much of the paper and many steps involved in purchasing, the savings on administrative costs alone are well worth the employment of procurement cards.

On the supply-side of the marketplace, the acceptance of online payments opens up a whole new sales and delivery channel. Suppliers can attract and retain customers who want to streamline the procurement process by purchasing online, which can provide a significant competitive advantage and increase sales. Procurement card acceptance automates the payment process for the supplier, reducing paperwork and eliminating invoicing. Suppliers can also reduce bad debt since they receive their payments in days, rather than weeks or months. Since credit authorization takes place during the card transaction, there's no need to wait for new customers to be credit approved; payment is guaranteed.

With procurement card use and acceptance slated to play an increasingly major role in the growth of business-to-business e-commerce, organizations wanting to participate in that growth have several options available to help them get started.

To assist buyers and sellers in the online procurement process, Thomas Regional has recently announced a special credit card acceptance program with Visa U.S.A. along with a "preferred provider" processing rate offered by First Data Merchant Services. With the integration of Visa's card acceptance and real-time credit card processing with Order Online, Thomas Regional's e-commerce solution, purchasers and suppliers can rely on a seamless and secure procurement system – from sourcing through transaction settlement.

Through First Data Merchant Services, one of the largest transaction processing companies in the U.S., Order Online at ThomasRegional.com offers acceptance of all major credit and procurement cards including Visa, Master Card, American Express and Discover.

Simply contact your financial institution for more information regarding online purchasing card acceptance. For assistance in setting up your company's web site or e-commerce enabled product catalog, call 1-888-Regional.

*Source: IDC, Forrester, Jupiter, Cowles/Simba

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