Wednesday , July 18, 2018

Checks Still Reign in U.S. Business Payments, but Electronic Methods Close Behind

An international survey of financial executives shows that checks are still the most commonly used method of business payments, but paperless methods aren’t far behind.

The April survey of 914 chief financial officers and other senior finance executives, including 501 from the United States, for fleet-fueling and corporate-payments provider WEX Inc. found that checks are the most common form of business payment in the United States and the Asia-Oceana region consisting of Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia. In the U.S., 76% of respondents said they use checks, followed by mobile payments, used by 75%; virtual cards and accounts, 73%, and traditional automated clearing house, also 73%.

In Asia/Oceana, checks, used by 80% of regional respondents, and mobile payments, 71%, dominate, the survey found. In Europe, virtual cards and accounts and ACH and faster-payments variants are tied for first place at 57% each.

In other findings, South Portland, Maine-based WEX said large majorities of the respondents—the lowest figure was 76% from Asia/Oceana—trust cloud-based accounts-payable systems more than locally-based ones to keep payments secure. And some 50% of U.S. respondents have implemented an electronic-payables initiative while another 37% are getting one underway.

More than 80% of the respondents “feel at least somewhat confident in their understanding of the function and capabilities of blockchain and distributed-ledger technologies,” WEX also said. More than half of the American executives feel “extremely confident” in that regard, the company said.

WEX commissioned Lake Luzerne, N.Y.-based Zogby Analytics LLC to do the online poll. The findings have margins of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level for U.S. respondents and 6.8 points for those from Europe and Asia/Oceana.

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