Shopify has tapped Israeli B2B payments startup Melio to launch a new bill payment tool that has been designed to give US merchant customers the ability to manage their expenses and vendors via its platform.
The company‘s global head of merchant services partnerships, Shruti Patel, claimed it was another step in Shopify’s plan to become the first port of call for fintech and commerce merchants.
Shopify hopes that if merchants can spend less time on tedious tasks such as consolidating their invoices and paying bills, they can spend more time focusing on growing their businesses on the platform.
Merchants also were starting to ask the platform for more money movement capabilities, Patel told TechCrunch
.“We have been on the fintech journey since we introduced payments back in the day, powered by Stripe,” she said.
“That gave us tons of insight on our payments data. And then we came out and offered Shopify Capital in 2016, which was designed to meet our merchants’ micro and macro lending needs.
“And then last year we introduced what we call Shopify Balance, which was almost like a money management tool.”
The Canadian ecommerce giant has worked to embed the new payment tool into its existing product, and the same place its merchant customers run their businesses.
“If you look at how banks offer and financial institutions offer bill pay today, it’s a pretty redirect experience,” Patel continued.
“…But a lot of those experiences are pretty broken because they just link to a bank account and enable them to use them through that one method of payment.”
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According to Patel, merchants will be able to choose between funding sources such as a bank account, Shopify Balance, credit or debit card or an ACH bank transfer.
If a vendor does not accept them, they are able to pay with credit card.
“It’s not only the cost optionality on which payment method and how to choose that, but also the speed we are allowing them to schedule payments,” she said.
The bill payment feature is free for merchants, however there are a number of “minimal fees” associated with certain payment methods such as credit cards.
“One of the reasons we wanted to do this for our merchants is going back to some of the feedback we heard which was how much bill pay is a pain point, especially for smaller merchants who cannot afford very expensive subscription plans,” she explained.
Internally, having the ability to offer bill pay will offer Shopify insights on how they’re spending and which vendors they’re spending with.
“And today, banks have that insight, but they don’t really do anything with it, because they’re not running storefronts for the small businesses,” Patel said.
“What we want to do is really have that data help us drive more revenue for our merchants