American Express Expands Virtual Card Payments

Coupa Pay offers fast, secure B2B transactions to American Express cardholders.

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Need to Know

  • American Express and Coupa are expanding their B2B partnership to the U.S., after making digital payments available to U.K. and Australian customers.
  • Coupa Pay allows businesses to pay suppliers quickly, easily, and transparently using virtual Cards.
  • Each transaction is given a unique American Express Card number, and invoice matching is automated, meaning greater security for both payers and payees.

Analysis

American Express is making it easier for U.S. businesses to pay their suppliers virtually, expanding its digital payments solution with Coupa that enables safe, quick B2B transactions.

American Express initially partnered with Coupa, the business spending management software provider, in 2019; Coupa Pay, the company’s B2B payments solution, has been available in the U.K. and Australia through American Express since last year. Demand for the American Express virtual Card payment with Coupa Pay growing in those markets, as many companies have made the transition to a largely remote workforce, and towards the prioritization of contactless, digital transactions. The expansion into the U.S. will meet identical demands in that market.

“The pandemic has created widespread work from home policies, meaning previously fragmented and manual business payment processes are no longer an option,” JR Robertson, vice president of Coupa Pay at Coupa, said of the expansion. “With Coupa Pay, Coupa and American Express are making it easier for our joint U.S. customers to thrive in this challenging environment by empowering them to pay using virtual Card technology. Now, every transactional step in the business spend management process can be done smarter and simpler.”

Once a business’ eligible American Express account is integrated with Coupa Pay, virtual Cards are issued to authorized suppliers and can be used for quick and easy payments. The Coupa Pay integration allows American Express cardholders on both sides of a transaction to enjoy enhanced payment security, as each transaction generates a unique American Express Card number, and there is greater visibility over invoice matching and payment details for both suppliers and contractors. The integration also reduces the need to onboard suppliers for your low-value or one-time purchases, increasing organizational efficiency.

“Our expanded partnership with Coupa is the latest step in our strategy to accelerate investments in the B2B payments space to better serve our customers and offer best-in-class digital payment solutions,” Trina Dutta, vice president and general manager of B2B Payments Automation, Global Commercial Services at American Express, said of the integration. “By integrating American Express virtual Card capabilities into the unified buyer and supplier experience of Coupa’s fast-growing BSM platform, we’re addressing our customers’ need to digitize payments and thereby becoming more essential to their operational needs.”

The Coupa expansion is just the latest in a series of moves by American Express that are geared towards accommodating business and consumer demands that have evolved alongside the COVID-19 pandemic. The company expanded its click-to-pay capacities in July, giving cardholders a simple and straightforward way to make purchases online by simply clicking one button that will save all relevant information for future purchases, rather than inputting it each time. American Express also launched a new pay-over-time option in August, giving small business owners greater repayment flexibility as many of them struggled with financial insecurity due to the coronavirus crisis.

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