The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many banking customers to convert themselves into “reluctant first-time users” of exclusive digital banking. A steady rise in the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) payments has been evident long before the pandemic outbreak. It was already flourishing within sectors such as e-commerce, all the way to wealth management.
P2P’s Increased Use By Consumers and Businesses
In March 2019, a report conducted by Zelle, (a bank-owned P2P platform), revealed that more than 50% of new users to the platform were 45 years of age and older. Use of P2P payments are also witnessing a sudden surge due to “food insecurity” and unemployment. The use of these payments is particularly seeing a steady rise between family members.
The dramatic growth of peer-to-peer (P2P) payment apps like Venmo, Zelle, and Square Cash has made its way into the business arena as well. In a 2019 Small Business Survey carried out by TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, it was found that 23% of small businesses were already utilizing P2P for collecting payments. Furthermore, it was estimated that P2P payments to U.S. businesses will top $74 billion by the year 2021.
Although P2P payments seem to be an integral way that consumers are now transacting with businesses, when it comes to business use, adopting this form of payment is not so straightforward.
For one thing, the top P2P payment apps are not configured for or even “officially approved” for business use. P2P payments were originally designed to support payments among individuals who know and trust each other, like friends and family. As a result, these payment apps are simply not equipped to offer the protections enjoyed by credit card holders.
Since the world of banking is highly regulated, there are different rules that apply for businesses and individuals. These regulations determine how the payments are to be dispersed, protected, and tracked.
If businesses find that their customers prefer to pay using P2P apps, it’s important to get familiarized with its business payment rules and requirements. Some small businesses use their personal bank accounts for their business payments in order to abide by the requirements set by certain P2P apps, like Zelle.
Not only are there transaction fees to be fully aware of, but then there is the added dilemma of how you can incorporate these types of payments into your current accounting system. When customers typically pay by credit card or a check, there are tracking mechanisms associated with that payment that can be applied to your accounting system. The P2P payment apps tend to avoid the accounting system entirely.
Moreover, forget about refunds. Payments can’t be reversed once submitted.
Although adopting a P2P app solution would greatly benefit a business, it is important that business owners take the time to familiarize themselves with the constraints of each solution as well as its terms and conditions.