This is part two of a two-part post diving into the future of small business checking. Read part one, Small Business Checking, Reimagined.
Increasingly, small businesses see digital payment solutions as both a way to get paid faster and to satisfy customers who now prefer to pay that way. Indeed, this capability has become indispensable for most small businesses. And for banks, it is the key to capturing even more small and medium-sized business relationships moving forward.
However, there is one problem: Banks don’t offer a simple solution to help their small business customers meet this fundamental need. As a result, small business owners have had to resort to outside options (four of which we explored in part one). Over time, this reliance on fintech challengers can lead to disintermediation for the bank, as the non-banks begin to replace the financial institution with their own offerings.
At this point you may be wondering: Does my bank already offer this kind of solution, or something that’s similar enough? The answer, most likely, is no — or not yet.
The reality is that the ideal solution for a small business owner is a steep change from the small business accounts of today. Current accounts are built on transactional functionality. The many supporting, and sometimes dizzying, features that go along with it, such as transaction fees, minimum balances and item allowances, may be important to the bank, but miss the mark for a small business.
Simply put, small business owners need bank accounts designed for a very specific reason: to receive digital payments and easily track their critical cash flow in the process.
To be truly relevant, this reimagined small business checking account needs to include the following three crucial components:
- Digital payment acceptance, including credit cards, and online invoicing, set up and ready for the small business owner to start getting paid faster into the very same account.
- Manage and track customer payments, ranging from incoming, coming due, and past due, right inside the digital platform that’s comprises their checking account.
- Expertise and high-touch support that a business owner can expect from a longstanding and trustworthy institution. This is an important differentiator, and one that fintech challengers can’t come close to matching.
This checking account product offers two significant benefits. For a small business owner, it represents exactly what they have been searching for: a complete small business solution that features receivables functionality, offered by the same trusted institution that they’ve come to rely on for so many other needs.
And for banks, this new account allows them to embrace a mindset focused on customer workflows and solving real-world challenges. It could even signal a way forward, and open the door to many more opportunities. Promoting such a markedly different product, however, would require some care. Unlike a typical account, with its mandatory list of bulleted features, a reimagined solution like this one requires positioning that highlights its problem-solving capabilities.
A generic framework for our hypothetical account, organized by customer need first and benefit(s) second, could go:
Get paid, the way they want to pay
Make it easy for paying customers. Accept online payments and credit cards, or send personalized digital invoices. Either way, get paid directly into your bank account for easy access to funds.
Better control of your cash flow
Track and manage it all automatically: incoming, coming due and past due customer payments. Know exactly who has paid and when, and get an up-to-date view of your cash flow.
Do it all, all in one place
More than a checking account. Everything you need for your small business is included with your account. And there’s no need to set up multiple accounts across multiple platforms — one easy enrollment is all you need.
You don’t have to go it alone
Because a great digital experience is only the beginning. Every successful business needs an accessible financial partner — your bank is available and ready to help.
Of course, a reimagined small business checking account needs to be designed and launched with supporting capabilities in mind. Look for partners that can help your institution go to market with a proven solution — inclusive of the product capabilities and go-to-market services — that enable small business owners to get paid, while staying ahead of the competition.
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