A Wholesaler's Guide to Payments in B2B Selling

Areef Syed
May 8, 2024
A Wholesaler's Guide to Payments in B2B Selling

A Wholesaler's Guide to Payments in B2B Selling

Wholesale selling has evolved from what previously used to be an offline transaction has now become an online experience. Convenience, automation and flexibility are key transformative drivers that streamlined the transition of wholesale selling, both for wholesalers and retailers. As online wholesale platforms and marketplaces continue to attract retailers, wholesalers must offer diverse payment options to help attract retailers across the globe.

In this guide, we explore what are the ideal payment methods involved in wholesale selling, why should wholesalers offer diverse payment methods and what are the top payment options that wholesale sellers must consider in the B2B sales ecosystem.

What are Wholesale Payments?

Wholesale payment is the process of transferring funds between businesses for transactions involving the selling/buying of wholesale goods or services. Both Wholesalers and retail entities can process these payments through a various methods, like bank transfers, electronic funds transfers, credit cards, or specialized payment solutions that foster customized payment terms

Contrary to retail payments which involve everyday purchases between consumers and businesses, wholesale payments are the high-value transfers that occur between a wholesaler (who is the seller) and a retailer (who buys from the wholesaler) in a financial system.

How the Digital Wholesale Payment System is Evolving

The global wholesale payments has enjoyed a remarkable market share of  $490 billion at the end of 2022. A report by Bain & Company projects a 6% cumulative revenue growth of global wholesale payments, reaching $645 billion by 2027.

Today, digital payments in wholesale is becoming widely accepted in markets where sellers and buyers still rely on checks and other traditional payment methods. As governments continue to invest in better payments infrastructure, wholesalers can engage in selling to a global pool of retailers.

Retailers can confidently rely on third-party digital order-to-cash and procure-to-pay platforms to facilitate the purchase of large quantities.  And wholesalers can ensure that robust security measures are in place to prevent fraudulent transactions.

The Importance of Robust Wholesale Payments in B2B Sales

Unlike B2C transactions, wholesale selling involves the sale of both large order volume and high costs. In such cases, wholesale sellers look out for secure payment solutions through which they can accept payments from retailers. Retailers on the other hand prefer payment methods that are convenient and impose relatively low transaction and processing fees.

Customized for Wholesale Payment Terms:

Buying from wholesalers is a contrasting experience when compared to retail purchases. Wholesale sellers often set custom pricing and payment terms, to attract retailers and offer them the best deal. These agreements and payment terms may differ on a case-to-case basis and adds a layer of complexity to B2B transactions. The payment terms wholesalers must offer should be able to process these customized payment terms that come with different billing cycles.

Support Cross Border Wholesale Transactions:

As online wholesale platforms increase the reach of wholesale sellers, payment options must be able to support transactions from international retailers. Having international payment options reduces exchange rate fees. Having internationally accepted standard payment gateways and solutions increases transparency and fosters trust in online wholesale transactions.

Honor Flexible Payment Options:

As wholesale transactions generally involve lump sum, retailers may find it difficult to commit to a one-time settlement. Retailers engage in flexible buying methods involving payment payment options like net days payment, installments, consignment payments, letter of credit and more. The payment instrument set up for wholesale selling must be able to process these flexible payment options in a more timely and secure manner. Retailers must receive timely alerts to pay up in specific time intervals and also have visibility over payment due, interest charge and pending balances.

Monitor Cash Flow:

Having a diverse payment options help wholesalers manage business own cash flow efficiently. Wholesalers can promote more buying among retailers through early payment incentives like discounts. Wholesale sellers can also penalize retailers with late fees to make sure that they comply with payment deadlines. This helps wholesalers in regulating a steadier stream of incoming funds to manage business expenses and operations. Retailers benefit from reduced upfront costs or additional perks, while wholesalers gain faster access to their funds and potentially attract new customers who may have been hesitant with traditional terms.

Types of Popular Wholesale Payment Methods


Checks are one of the old-school payment types involved in wholesale business transactions.

To opt for this payment method, retailers require an invoice, which is forwarded to the accounts payable (AP) team. The checks involved in wholesale transactions contain prefilled bank details of the retailer's entity.

The AP team specifies the payment value on the check and mails it to the wholesaler. The payment is then credited to the wholesaler's business account from an issuing bank after verifying the check.

While being the most traditional and widely used payment method, issuing checks as a payment method is time consuming, resource intensive and involves a lot of paperwork.

ACH Payments

Automated Clearing House or ACH Payments is an online facility that helps businesses process high value transactions. It’s one of the preferred B2B payment method in wholesale transactions, and supports transactions between businesses and bigger retailers.

There are two ways to initiate payment through ACH:

  • ACH credit transfer: Here, retailers places a request to transfer money for an order through their own business account.
  • ACH debit transfer: Here, wholesaler places a payment request to transfer money from the retailer's account.

ACH payments involve a longer processing timeline since payment transfers are initiated through specific windows. ACH payment is exclusive to businesses within the United States and cannot facilitate payments transfers made by international retailers.

Credit or Debit card

Payment cards are a popular choice for their increased acceptance rates and convenience. But for wholesale payments valued higher than an average DTC transaction, card-based payments incur a high processing fee . The flat-processing fee rates hurts the profit margins of the retailers. Higher the cost of the order, higher is the transaction fee associated with the B2B transaction. As wholesalers involve in frequent buying, these transaction fee and international payment charges can amount to hundreds of dollars based on the order value.

Wire transfer

A wire transfer, another online payment method electronically moves money from one business bank account to another. The retailer must collect the wholesaler's banking information like the business name, bank account number, and routing number. The retailer then requests for a transfer of funds to the wholesaler's account.

The biggest advantage of wholesale payments through wire transfers is the shorter processing period involved. In some cases, the wholesaler receives the money within the same day. However, manual entry of account details makes the process prone to human errors. Moreover, the transaction must occur before the payment window set by the wholesaler expires.

Digital payment services

The emergence of digital wallets and payment platforms are redefining the way wholesale transaction occurs. A digital payment service lets retailers pay for a wholesale shipment through electronic payment gateways or applications.

Like card-based transaction, these digital payment service may facilitate cross-border transactions between international retailers and wholesalers. But these platforms may have a processing fee applicable for each time a transaction is initiated. On the other hand, these platforms give you proper records of the transaction timeline and is supported by teams to assist retailers and wholesalers during payment failures.

Trade Credit

Trade credit is an exclusive payment method for wholesale transactions, especially when the shipment value is significantly high. Wholesale traders let retailers buy goods without requiring immediate payment for the purchase. The retailer is given an extension timeline during which the retailer has to pay back the supplier for the goods purchased. Trade credit while being very common in B2B businesses, may result in strong buyer-seller relationships and pave the way for repeat purchases. However, when not carefully monitored, it may impact the wholesale seller’s cash flow and result in bad debt.

For more information on Trade Credit, read Trade Credit for Wholesale Sellers

Optimizing Your Payment Mix for More Sales

The key to attracting retailers both local and international lies in curating a seamless wholesale buying experience on the wholesale selling platform. As a wholesale seller, providing a diverse range of payment methods can help meet the payment preferences and overcome limitations that retailers face while buying online. The payment methods you offer should align with payment terms and accepted methods that you wish to implement for retailers who buy from you.

At the core of any business is convenience and trust and a healthy mix of payment options is a necessity. Extending a secure buying experience for retailers who visit your online wholesale store can be an instrumental factor in reducing abandoned carts and customer drop-offs. Having a healthy mix of traditional, modern and internationally accepted payment methods help you cater to a diverse mix of retailers who will continue buying from you over the long run.

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Areef Syed
May 8, 2024

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