Digital payments are rapidly displacing payments by cash or check by consumers, but the really big opportunity, with as much as $1 trillion in annual revenue at stake, may be in business-to-business (B2B) payments, according to a report from Goldman Sachs cited by MarketWatch. "While thus far the digitization of B2B payment flows has been slow—especially among small business—we believe the market is finally poised to accelerate," Goldman wrote. The report estimates that, worldwide, annual B2B payments are a staggering $127 trillion, and headed towards $200 trillion by 2028. Among the companies that Goldman believes are well-poised to profit from the further digitization of B2B payments are these eight: Bottomline Technologies Inc. (EPAY), Coupa Software Inc. (COUP), FleetCor Technologies Inc. (FLT), Intuit Inc. (INTU), SAP SE (SAP), Square Inc. (SQ), Wex Inc. (WEX) and Worldpay Inc. (WP).

"With the vast majority of invoices still processed manually and paid by paper check, we see significant opportunities for business to reduce costs—creating new revenue pools for payment and software companies entering the market with faster, lower-cost invoice processing and payment solutions," Goldman's report continues. Small businesses stand to gain the most from a shift to digital payments, Goldman concludes, given that they are most likely to have antiquated, paper-based and labor-intensive, invoicing and payments processes. In North America alone, small businesses account for about $510 billion of annual payments to suppliers, per the report. (For more, see also: 4 Stocks for the Late Bull Market.)

Room For Growth

Stock Market Capitalization
Bottomline $3 billion
Coupa $5 billion
FleetCor $19 billion
Intuit $58 billion
SAP $147 billion
Square $27 billion
Wex $8 billion
Worldpay $30 billion

Source: Goldman Sachs, as reported by MarketWatch

Square

Goldman notes that Square has just recently begun facilitating supplier payments, and sees a big opportunity in using its Square Capital subsidiary as a source of supply chain financing. Indeed, the company is increasing its prominence as a lender to small businesses through Square Capital, per CNBC. On the consumer payments side, its peer-to-peer (P2P) Cash App already is being used as a substitute for bank accounts by a growing number of customers, and its linked debit card, called the Cash Card, was used to make payments worth $250 million in the second quarter, according to the same story. "Anything you do today with a bank account, you should look to the Cash App to begin to emulate more and more of that," Square Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Susan Friar said at a recent conference, CNBC notes. (For more, see also: Snapchat, Square Partnership Comes to an End.)

What the Others Do

Bottomline offers a cloud-based payment network, called Paymode-X, as well as a cloud-based financial messaging system that facilitates the movement of payment instructions, transaction settlement, and associated reporting, for banks and non-financial businesses alike. Goldman's comments on the others, per MarketWatch, are as follows. 

Coupa offers an integrated platform for managing B2B payments that is distinctive for its "comprehensiveness" and "ease-of-use."

While many rivals offer either domestic or international payments solutions, Fleetcor offers both.

Intuit, the company behind widely-used small business accounting and financial software such as QuickBooks, is in a prime competitive position as a result, and it has forged alliances with a number of leading payments processors, including Square.

SAP is a leading provider of enterprise software to medium and large businesses, and its software is "easy to integrate with multiple accounting and other procure-to-pay solutions."

WEX has international reach through its issuance of virtual cards bearing the Visa and Mastercard logos. It also has corporate payments solutions suitable for large and small businesses, and which are compatible with legacy platforms.

Worldpay offers integrated payments solutions for large businesses with cross-border fund flows, and has the capabilities to be the sole payments partner for its clients.

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