The deal follows moves into online B2B payment management services by other financial giants including Visa Inc., Mastercard International Inc. and American Express Co.

BlueTarp Financial, a provider of B2B financing services used in ecommerce, will become part of financial banking giant Capital One Financial Corp. under a plan the two companies announced today. Capital One didn’t say what it expects to pay for BlueTarp.

BlueTarp’s products and services are designed to enable online B2B buyers to apply for financing as part of the purchase process on a seller’s website, with nearly instant approvals for buyers meeting financial requirements. As part of a broader “purchase-to-payment” process, BlueTarp’s technology covers a range of financial management tools including accounts receivable, cash flow, risk management and related services.

“BlueTarp offers a unified purchase-to-payment system and fosters strong banking relationships with large merchants and small- to medium-sized businesses alike,” says Buck Stinson, senior vice president of card partnerships at Capital One. “We are looking forward to integrating BlueTarp and its innovative technology and services into Capital One’s card partnerships business, enhancing our service capabilities for existing and future partners.”

Roots with building materials suppliers

Portland, Maine-based BlueTarp was founded in 1999 to provide credit services designed for suppliers of building materials, who could then increase their cash flow by extending BlueTarp’s instant financing to qualified buyers. BlueTarp’s clients include national and regional suppliers across multiple industries including office supplies, hardware, home-building, building materials, lumber, tools and industrial equipment.

Capital One and BlueTarp said they expect the acquisition to close in the third quarter.

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In other areas of financial services that have been expanding for B2B companies include:

  • Visa Inc. earlier this month announced the commercial launch of the Visa B2B Connect network, which Visa says it designed to provider “quicker and simpler” bank-to-bank transactions in cross-border B2B payments worldwide;
  • Mastercard International last fall launched Mastercard Track as a global trade platform built on Microsoft Corp.’s Azure cloud technology and designed to let companies manage business identities and payment transactions as part of the procure-to-pay process;
  • American Express and SAP Ariba announced in April a partnership designed to offer buyers and suppliers on the Ariba Network procurement system new payment and financing options, including enabling buyers to use their corporate cards to have more control over the amount and timing of individual payments.

More activity is likely to follow, experts say. “You will see a spate of B2B payments acquisitions by forward banks, which are responding to steep demand for payments innovation among businesses,” says Rivka Gewirtz Little, research director for global payments at research firm IDC.

“Business owners are accustomed to a more robust, friendly experience at checkout in their personal shopping, and they’re expecting that for business purchases, such as the ability to provide instant credit,” says Ian Benton, senior analyst, digital banking payments at Javelin Strategy & Research. “In B2B ecommerce, we’ll see a lot more of these things available.”

Benton adds that as more small businesses get involved in cross-border ecommerce, they are requiring more cross-border payment capabilities. He cites the Visa B2B Connect service as a notable example of making more affordable and secure cross-border payments transactions between a buyer’s bank and a seller’s bank.

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