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Could Blockchain B2B Directory Increase E-Payments Uptake?

  • By Andrew Deichler
  • Published: 8/3/2018

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The Business Payments Directory Association (BPDA) and Discover Financial Services are teaming up to develop a B2B directory built on blockchain technology. The directory is intended to be a standardized, searchable database for information on electronic payments transactions.

Checks continue to dominate B2B transactions. Many business would prefer to use electronic payments, however, e-payments often lack vital information that is needed to execute transactions. The BPDA B2B Directory aims to change that.

“Our B2B Directory will not only provide access to this information, but support routing instructions, preferred payment methods, remittance details, delivery preferences, and more—all in a standardized way clearing the path for interoperability and greater efficiencies,” said Lawrence Buettner, BDPA Chairman.

The BPDA B2B Directory will essentially be a network of smaller sub-directories that store trusted and validated payee information. Credentialed service providers will control these sub-directories and allow access to the stored information. Payees will be able to manage their information on the directory in real-time to ensure payment details are current.

In addition to blockchain/distributed ledger technology (DLT), the directory will also utilize standardized application program interfaces (APIs) developed by NACHA’s API Standardization Industry Group (ASIG). “Standardization of APIs that facilitate B2B payments and interoperability are a priority for the API Standardization Industry Group,” said George Throckmorton, managing director, network development and strategic initiatives for NACHA, and ASIG lead. “We are pleased to be working with BPDA and Discover Financial Services on such an important project that will support businesses desiring the benefits of electronic payments and further their goal of straight through processing of remittance information.”

Magnus Carlsson, AFP’s manager of treasury and payments, voiced his support for the initiative. “After several years in developing the concept, BPDA is moving towards a proof of concept at a great time and with a great partner,” he said. “It is really exciting that the B2B Directory will be able to leverage some of the latest technology. This will help futureproofing the service. The ultimate goal of the directory is to facilitate electronic payments, and this development is certainly a step in the right direction.”

Work on the directory is slated to begin this month. The proof of concept phase is expected to continue into next year.

AFP 2018 has multiple sessions on blockchain in the Payments track. Learn more here.

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