According to the company, AribaPay is designed to bring a consumer-like payment experience and improved visibility to B2B payments, as well as replace complex and inefficient paper-based invoicing systems.
AribaPay was announced in 2013 as a joint venture between Ariba and Discover Financial Services and the first payment was made on the system in March 2014. The partnership with Discover applied only to businesses in North America, but in January 2016 SAP Ariba announced a partnership with payment technology provider First Data that makes the AribaPay system available in Europe and Latin America.
It is designed to bring a consumer-like experience to electronic B2B payments, while including information that can improve the efficiency of the B2B transaction. The difference between consumer and B2B payments is that in consumer payments you order the goods and pay for them at the same time, either in an online cart or in a physical store. B2B payments usually happen after goods or services have been delivered, typically within 30 to 120 days. Multiple invoices can arrive at the same time to a business and one payment can cover all the invoices, meaning that businesses often don't know which invoices have been paid for.
AribaPay works by combining the information about transactions that occur in the Ariba Network with the payment processing infrastructure of the financial partners, Discover and First Data. It's designed to carry more information associated with each transaction than can be accommodated by the traditional EDI systems. For example, ACH, which is used in North America, can only send up to 80 characters of data with each transaction. SEPA, the system commonly used in Europe, allows only 140 characters and one invoice per payment. AribaPay sends the rich data sets for each transaction over the Ariba Network. This includes everything that transpires between the buyers and sellers on the network, such as previous purchase orders, any associated invoices, and other transactional information.
There is also a feature called Track and Trace which allows users to see the status of a payment at any phase of the process, much like the tracking features used by package delivery services like UPS and Federal Express. For example, buyers and sellers can see exactly when an invoice is scheduled for payment, when the payment begins, when AribaPay receives it, and when it sends it to the processing partner (Discover or First Data).
SAP Ariba claims that the system is easy to set up and works seamlessly after that. Buyers identify the suppliers on the network that they want to receive payments from, and AribaPay representatives set the suppliers up to receive payments. There are no setup costs, but AribaPay levies a per-transaction fee.
Since it has launched, SAP Ariba competitors such as Coupa have announced similar B2B payment systems.