With Paytm’s new system, SMBs can pay bills on a unified platform
Small and medium businesses (SMB) that process their utility bills manually often end up missing some payments due to human error. They also have to employ staff to handle payment and reconciliation of such bills.
Fintech unicorn Paytm’s Enterprise Bill Payment System (EBPS) aims to ease this problem by allowing SMBs to manage and pay utility bills, generated across a large number of locations, on a unified platform.
Paytm says EBPS helps such businesses reduce their administrative costs, increase operational efficiency, and save on bill amounts by avoiding penalties and unlocking early payment discounts.
“EBPS enables SMBs to manage and pay mobile, gas, water bills from their shops, offices, and warehouses on a unified platform,” says Paytm Senior Vice President Praveen Sharma. “It is the only integrated utility bill management service for businesses in India.”
Part of Paytm Payouts, EBPS is expected to cross Rs 3,000 crore in transactions by the end of this fiscal, according to a February 2021 estimate by the company.
In an interview with SMBStory, Sharma explains how EBPS works and why it is useful.
SMBStory: How does EBPS work and on what platforms can SMBs use this service?
Praveen Sharma [PS]: Paytm Payouts allows merchants to manage bill payments in a simple and organised manner. Merchants can create different stores for each shop, warehouse, or office and associate bills against each store. EBPS will automatically fetch bills from billers and provide a consolidated view of overdue bills and the total bill.
This amount can be tracked both for the company and individual stores and warehouses. Whenever a bill is added, its details are auto-validated by the system and any outstanding amount is fetched automatically from the biller for payment.
Paytm Payouts also allows bulk mobile recharges without adding an individual bill. This feature is important for SMBs that make monthly phone reimbursements to employees. It requires the information for phone numbers and the amount to be reimbursed.
Additionally, for prepaid mobile bills, recharge plans can be selected from the dashboard. Businesses can also automate employee mobile bill payments for post-paid plans.
In EBPS, organisations can set customised approval workflows ensuring compliance and required approvals are taken before bills are paid. Once a bill payment request is approved by all the approvers set in the workflow, the amount is released from the account for bill payment.
SMBS: How did you build this service?
PS: Paytm integrated with 95 percent of billers in India to provide SMBs with an almost real-time view of pending bills, original bills, and the best services and success rates. You can pay thousands of bills in one go.
What we have done is enhanced the ease of use of such a product for Indian businesses, considering they have multiple stores and warehouses and approval matrices in their company. It relies on a customised software built to manage the above things for SMBs and this is what creates value for them.
SMBS: What are some of the advantages of using EBPS?
PS: Here are some advantages of using EBPS:
Single-click payments: Businesses can easily filter bills depending on the location, due dates, bill providers, etc. and pay thousands of bills with a click using the bulk payment option.
Location management: Bills for every shop, office, warehouse, and location can be easily managed from one dashboard.
Easy reconciliation: The service offers hassle-free reconciliation and custom reports based on different locations. It can be easily integrated with existing enterprise resource planning and other financial reporting systems.
Quick approvals: EBPS has custom flows to make approvals and follow-ups from various business departments easier.
Partial payments: There is an option to pay in advance or pay a partial amount of the bill.
Reminders: Users can set easy alerts, so that they never miss a bill payment.
Access to early payment offers: By paying earlier than the due date, businesses can get discounts as high as 15 percent.
Intelligent and automated bill fetching mechanism: This ensures bills are fetched timely and efficiently. Special request incentives and penalties from operators are built into the system.
Smart management of funds: With our rich experience in building wallet technology, we are able to extend it to businesses to manage their funds in real time to pay bills.
Built to scale for enterprises: The back-end technology is built to pay thousands of bills with one click; manage thousands of stores; has enterprise-level access layer for complex approvals based on the amount, store, and biller; and sends real-time notifications, so you are not paying late even once.
SMBS: Are there similar services from other fintech firms? How is EBPS different?
PS: Though scheduled commercial banks offer simple bill payment services on current accounts, Paytm Payouts provides the most comprehensive solution for SMBs and large corporates. This is because our range of features includes store management, automatic payments with bill spike indicator, bill receipts, approval workflows, and enterprise access controls.
Edited by Lena Saha