By Bernard Hickey
Routines can be useful, particularly for small businesses hunting for regular cashflow from their customers.
Now Kiwibank is offering a regular payments platform for all their business customers called Fetch recurring payments. Previously this sort of thing was only available to large businesses handling lots of transactions.
Kiwibank's Head of Transactional Banking, James Woodward, explained to me in a recent video interview why small to medium enterprises might want Fetch.
"Managing payments is a real issue for them, particularly the payments coming from their customers," Woodward said.
Dun and Bradstreet's quarterly Trade Payments analysis shows firms took 42.2 days on average in the June quarter to pay other firms, with large firms, government departments and construction companies amongst the slowest payers.
So Kiwibank is offering a platform that allows smaller businesses to set up regular payments from their customers and monitor them online.
"Banks are providing these tools to larger businesses, but not to smaller businesses," he said.
"Fetch recurring payments is about giving small businesses the control to take the payment when they require it and on whatever they terms have with their customers."
Woodward used the example of a dentist with a customer who needed to make 10 regular payments of NZ$200 a month over 10 months to pay a NZ$2000 bill. Using Fetch recurring payments, the dentist would get the customer to fill out the direct debt forms and then hand it over to Fetch to organise the regular payments.
"It makes that whole payment process easier and it splits some of that pain on top of your teeth," he said.
"They provide the form, we load up the payment plan and we take care of processing those payments."
Fetch recurring payments has an application and setup fee of NZ$200 and then a monthly support fee of from NZ$25 to NZ$35, depending on the size of the business. Transactions costs range from 65 cents to NZ$1.15 per transaction depending on the number of monthly transactions.
"As soon as we're saving a business more than an hour and a half or two hours a month the Fetch system pays for itself."
Woodward said Kiwibank aimed to extend its services in payment services, particularly in mobile. He pointed to Kiwibank's move to become a real time payments bank early this year.
"There's a lot of focus on mobile and web. We're investing a lot in our online banking," he said.
"The Fetch payment product is the start of a much wider range of payment tools for businesses."