Bill.com Ties Cash-Flow Tools to Banks' Small Business Software

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There’s a crowded field of tech companies that offer cash management software to businesses. Bill.com has added a new wrinkle that would integrate its platform directly into banks’ internal transaction and loan software for handling small to medium sized business clients. 

“What we found is each bank wants to do different things, so we opened up our API [application programming interface] to allow them to customize as they want,” says Rene Lacerte, CEO and founder of Bill.com, which unveiled the new capabilities Wednesday morning at the Small Business Banking Conference in Boca Raton, Fla. 

The Palo Alto, Ca.-based Bill.com has enabled API access to each of the six components of its banking platform, which is designed to link directly to the banks’ SMB systems. That in turn would allow the bank to reduce the “seams” or disconnects that often exist between accounts payable and receivables platforms and other systems such as accounting or web business banking. Lacerte contends most business banking solutions are focused on transactional payment processes that require businesses to use disconnected payment and accounting systems.

Bill.com hopes to connect and automate all of these processes via a single bank-branded offering. It will let banks choose which parts of the Bill.com platform to integrate. “It’s a pick and choose ...the bank can say it’s important for a customer to authenticate with the bank but enroll on Bill.com,” Lacerte says.
 
The six components of the Bill.com platform include single-sign on and multi-factor authentication; entitlements (access and transaction privileges and permissions for employees and accountants); business objects such as payables, receivables, cash flow management, document management and workflow applications; business systems integration with accounting packages; processing of ACH, check, wire, and card payments; and access to a cloud-based portal and payee directory.
 
The integration between Bill.com’s components and the bank’s systems is enabled by Bill.com’s API, which is based on JSON. JSON refers to JavaScript Object Notification, an open standard that is often used to transfer structured data, which can include information about payments or financial transactions, over a network connection. In Bill.com’s case, that allows banks to customize different business objects and incorporate them into their own user interfaces and make changes as the bank platform grows and changes. 

“As an example, 18 percent of our customers log in more than 100 times per month, the bank may want to get that log in to also go to their website,” Lacerte says. 

Users thus far include Mercantile Bank, and about 15 other banks are in discussion or in stages of deployment with Bill.com. Bill.com, whose backers include Financial Partners Fund, a unit of Citi Capital Advisors; DCM, Emergence Capital Partners, August Capital, Jafco Venture and Total Technology Ventures, has spent the past couple of years building out its command center, which includes a receivables function that integrates with QuickBooks, Intacct, NetSuite and PayPal Business. The command center also includes a business's own pending and paid bills, and a dashboard view of incoming and outgoing funds. It charges $19.99 per month for payables and $24.00 for payables and receivables. It says for the new service the fees are variable.

Bill.com’s competitors in the digital business payments space include PaySimple, Fiserv, FIS and Taulia, which sells a mix of accounts payable and treasury management solutions for digital billings. Other competition comes from document management providers and other electronic payment companies. David Sharp, head of business development for PaySimple, says his company’s API also allows a third party or software provider to place elements of their functionality into their interface. PaySimple’s clients include Amex Open, Chase, Western Union and Jack Henry Banking.

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