Credit has always been the lifeblood of business-to-business (B2B) commerce. Whether known as purchase financing, deferred payment, or net terms, it keeps global trade flowing, fostering trust and recurring orders.

But the transition to e-commerce has only just begun in recent years. And the results are evident on business websites everywhere: countless baskets abandoned when B2B customers find their only checkout option is upfront payment.

That situation is now about to change, though.

Inspired by consumer e-commerce, paying on credit terms is being adapted for online sales as B2B Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL). With B2B BNPL, companies can confidently offer purchase financing thanks to the seamless integration of four critical components: B2B e-checkout solutions, real-time credit assessment, financial services backing, and e-commerce credit insurance.

The new model opens opportunities for e-merchants to cater to their customers’ payment needs while safeguarding cash flow from non-payment. As B2B BNPL gains momentum, it also promises to reshape the competitive landscape for business e-commerce.


• B2B BNPL is the digital equivalent of payment by invoice for the e-commerce era.

• By providing their B2B customers with deferred payment options, e-merchants can convert 40% more checkout baskets into sales.1

• There is no one-size-fits-all for B2B BNPL providers: different models are structured to meet the needs of organizations of different sizes, industries, and international profile.

• Offering purchase finance is always accompanied by the risk of non-payment: that’s why B2B BNPL needs to be backed by credit insurance.  

2B BNPL is an integrated technology and services solution that enables merchants to provide short-term financing to their online business customers right at the point of sale. It is a digital equivalent of net terms that offers the merchant’s B2B buyers can delay paying for their purchases without incurring any interest charges.

The credit offer is generated automatically as the customer moves through checkout, based on a real-time analysis and scoring of their creditworthiness. Such a credit check might consider the buyer’s financial profile, the trade dynamics in their industry or country of origin, any supply chain dependencies, and more. With the offer approved and accepted, the merchant typically receives the payment immediately (via a financial services partner or directly from the BNPL platform company), with e-commerce credit insurance providing protection from the potential impact of a buyer defaulting.

Business-to-business BNPL stands apart from business to consume/B2C BNPL as a distinct market with quite different purchasing behaviours and dynamics. B2C BNPL allows individual consumers to make personal purchases on short-term, sometimes even interest-free credit with repayments staged over several months. 

In contrast, B2B BNPL offers buyers deferred payment (such as 30-, 60-, or 90-day net) on the critical inputs to their products and services, effectively net terms-as-a-service. Those payments are usually much larger in value and volume than in the consumer space and usually require buy-in from multiple decision-makers.

That also makes B2B BNPL quite different from other kinds of invoice financing that have historically plugged the credit gap. Invoice factoring or invoice discounting, for example, has allowed businesses to release a portion of the value tied up in their sales ledgers by selling outstanding invoices to a bank or finance company as a means of maintaining cash flow and revenue stability. But such arrangements, though related to BNPL, do not fit easily with the real-time and scalability requirements of B2B e-commerce.

Behind that B2B BNPL definition lies growing business excitement. Having witnessed how the BNPL model has transformed consumer e-commerce, e-merchants are keen to discover how B2B BNPL can turbocharge their online sales channels, without adding undue overheads or cashflow risk. The drivers for such interest are all too evident.

When successfully applied, the model dramatically reduces abandoned baskets at checkout and encourages repeat business, highlights Stavros Tamvakakis, co-founder, and CFO of one of the hottest B2B BNPL startups, Two: “With instant credit decisions, merchants can get credit approval rates of over 90%, and conversion rates of up to 40% on B2B purchases.” 3

The model can also result in increased customer loyalty: B2B sellers who provide flexible payment options experience an increase in customer orders of 60% on average 4, the team at Two observes. Moreover, two-thirds typically return for further purchases at least once within a year. 
But there are drawbacks of B2B BNPL that e-merchants need to appreciate. As with offline commerce, offering a credit period can impact cash flow. Since the early days of e-commerce, the vast majority of e-merchants have been wary of offering B2B customers the kind of net payment terms they would automatically provide offline. And with some justification: while e-commerce has the upside of attracting customers from all around the world, many of them will be unknown entities and from regions where the recovery of unpaid bills would prove costly and time-consuming.

That is where Allianz Trade pay plays a crucial role. We check customer creditworthiness and protect your business from the risk of customers not paying or going bankrupt.

B2B BNPL models need to be structured to meet the needs of organizations of different sizes, industries, and global reach. Here are three distinct ways that Allianz Trade is helping businesses like yours to leverage BNPL:

  • Multinational companies seeking a multi-country, multi-currency solution can seamlessly integrate the B2B BNPL capability into their online checkout processes using Allianz Trade’s application programming interface (API). As the customer moves through checkout their creditworthiness is automatically assessed in real-time using the Allianz Trade global network of company research before an appropriate offer of payment terms is made. When checkout is concluded, if the Multinationals chose the immediate payment option, the e-merchant is immediately paid the full transaction value by the participating financial services company, with Allianz Trade insurance acting as a safeguard against any default – irrespective of the location of the customer. If the Multinationals chose to provide deferred payment with their own cash, they will only need the credit insurance programme.
  • For small and mid-sized businesses, both the processing and automatic upfront payment to the merchant can be handled directly by one of Allianz Trade’s B2B BNPL platform providers, depending on the region (such as Two or PausePay). Again, Allianz Trade provides the creditworthiness checks and the coverage for the credit period, including any need to collect on unpaid bills.
  • Alternatively, e-merchants can set up direct integration between their own ecommerce site and Allianz Trade’s company research network via its API and start providing customers with net terms immediately. Though option may not include instant payment merchants, the credit period – and the guarantee of payment – is protected by Allianz Trade pay. 

Merchants of all sizes are only beginning to weigh the potential for B2B BNPL and industry analysts have yet to size of this opportunity. But all signs point to BNPL being involved in a significant proportion of global B2B e-commerce transactions in the not-too-distant future.

With the wider B2B e-commerce market estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 18% from about $8 trillion in 2023 to $26.6 trillion in 2030, predictions of the B2B BNPL market heading towards $1 trillion are by no means wild.5 & 6

Perhaps the best indicator of the B2B BNPL market size – and its likely pace of growth – is seen in the trajectory for B2C BNPL. The value of global B2C BNPL transactions, which were negligible prior to 2019, are predicted to hit $309 billion in 2023 and double over the next three years to $566 billion. That would suggest that B2C BNPL already accounts for around 5% of all e-commerce transaction value globally.7

The fact that the B2B e-commerce market is two and a half times larger and more internationally focused than B2C suggests it will surpass that level. Indeed, there are several driving factors that indicate that B2B BNPL volumes will rise even faster. 9

Almost 70% of business buyers already believe that their increasingly web-centric buying patterns are making their businesses more effective. And it is by no means just a small-business phenomenon. Around 35% of all B2B purchases by large and mid-sized businesses are now made directly online. As management consultants at McKinsey have observed: “The most notable sign that digital sales have come of age is the comfort B2B buyers display in making large new purchases and reorders online.”10

There are, of course, always risks associated with extending credit. That is why B2B BNPL is best backed by credit insurance.  

As the world leader in trade credit insurance, Allianz Trade is partnering with major banks and pioneering B2B BNPL companies in key countries and regions around the world to allow e-merchants to embrace B2B Buy Now, Pay Later. Our integrated solution, protected by Allianz Trade pay, is designed to help your business achieve: 

• Higher e-commerce conversion rates at checkout

• Fuller checkout baskets and more repeat customers 

• Real-time, automatic credit decisions

• Reliable cash flow

• Quick and easy set-up of B2B BNPL through an API that plugs directly into your e-commerce systems

• Peace of mind – knowing we collect, and you always get paid in full.