The Customer is Always Right: Adapting to Evolving Customer Payment Preferences within Your A/R Organization

Written by: Erin Wright

February 29, 2024

“The customer is always right” — a timeless adage that we’ve all heard before. Even though it most often refers to the customer service industry, it also rings true for the B2B payments landscape. Customers’ payment preferences directly affect and influence the evolution and adoption of different payment methods and channels within companies accounts receivable (A/R) and back-office payment processing operations. 

With customers' payment preferences directly influencing the way businesses evolve their A/R organization and the technologies they utilize, the customer is now no longer just king — they’re also the co-pilot, navigating the course alongside businesses in a shared quest for efficiency, retention, and ultimately, growth.

In this blog, we’ll explore how the ever-changing demands of customers and businesses across the B2B payments environment has become the catalyst for innovation and integration, shaping the diverse array of payment acceptance solutions available in the marketplace.

Understanding Customer Payment Preferences

Understanding customers needs and preferences when it comes to making payments is key to unlocking the potential of efficient payment acceptance and processing within your A/R operations. From traditional payment methods such as paper checks to newer payment solutions such online, mobile and embedded payment solutions, understanding what resonates with your customers in order to speed your payment acceptance, processing and posting (aka, cash application) is the first step towards a seamless receivable operation. 

So, what do your customers want?

Over the last several years, especially due to the hyper-disruption brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses were forced to rapidly evolve their payment acceptance capabilities to support contactless, self-service payment solutions such as online payment and automatic debit solutions. 

This has driven a significant increase in electronic payment methods and technologies. According to a PYMNTS report, the most popular way for customers to make a payment is via a self-service online payment solution through a business’s website, with automatic payment solutions being the next most popular.1

Additionally, mobile payments and embedded payment solutions have also increased in popularity — delivering a similar contactless payment experience that customers desire. 

However, many customers still desire the ability to make payments via check. In fact, 81% of B2B payments are still being made by paper check.2 This is especially relevant across industries such as distribution, field services, insurance, financial services and more.

Let’s say you operate within a historically check-dominant industry such as field services or distribution. If you decide that customers need to pay by credit card or ACH, while your customers prefer to continue to pay by check, this creates friction and ultimately frustration. And, customer frustration due to payment inflexibility (especially in today’s technology rich environment) may just be the textbook definition of “unnecessary”. 

Clearly understanding your specific customer base’s payment preferences is the key to a successful A/R operation, and most importantly, happy customers. Once you have a clear understanding of the necessary payment methods and channels, you can start tailoring your payment options accordingly. 

Offering a diverse mix of traditional and modern payment methods and channels will allow your business to effectively and efficiently manage payment processing and cash application operations. 22% of business customers stated that having a wide range of payment options is highly-desirable, and 82% of businesses expect that offering multiple payment options from a single system will improve their A/R and collection efforts.1

By meeting the needs of your customers, your business will become ‘stickier’—maintaining satisfied customers, while also being paid on time. It’s a win-win for your internal A/R team and your customers. 

Demand Driven Innovation

The rapid pace in which payment acceptance technology has advanced over the past several years has given rise to a plethora of payment options, adding to the already diverse and complex A/R environment. Whether it’s embedded payment solutions, advanced check processing, or online and mobile payments, businesses are compelled to adapt and integrate various technologies, or risk escalating costs and falling behind via legacy software and systems.

In order to achieve this innovation to support customer and business demands, consider implementing a single platform that supports multiple payment acceptance solutions and delivers automated cash application capabilities. By centralizing payment acceptance on a single solution to manage all incoming payments and remittance details, your business is able to focus on what matters most—your customers—instead of wading through multiple disparate systems to manage your receivables. Additionally, by adding a single A/R automation platform, your business is able to add the solutions you need now and grow the use of the platform over time as your business needs, and customer payment preferences, change. 

In turn, this will keep your business ahead of the curve — delivering a proactive approach to payment acceptance evolution. Embracing new technologies and implementing the solutions you need will help your business seamlessly adapt to customer demands and preferences. 


As customer payment preferences continue to evolve and new technologies emerge into the dynamic B2B landscape, businesses need to remain flexible. By staying attuned to industry trends, customers demands and by partnering with a trusted payment solution provider, your business can embrace the future of B2B payments. 

Your customer’s journey doesn’t end when they make a purchase or payment to your business — it extends all through the A/R process. Deliver your customers a seamless payment experience by providing the payment acceptance options they want. In turn, delivering your internal A/R organization with streamlined payment processing and cash application operations on a single platform to help you reduce DSO, increase cash flow and gain improved oversight and efficiencies as your business continues to grow. 


1 PYMNTS Report, Why Holistic Bill Payment Experiences Will Win the Payment Platform War | 2023

2 PYMNTS Report, Meeting the Growing Need for A/R Modernization | 2023


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