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Higher Education Institutions Rely on PaymentWorks to Digitize Critical Supplier Payment Functions and Guard Against Fraud

Higher Education Institutions Rely on PaymentWorks to Digitize Critical Supplier Payment Functions and Guard Against Fraud

Automating pervasive manual processes eliminates the risk of business payments fraud and ensures consistency of payments despite pandemic-driven changes to internal controls

 PaymentWorks today announced higher education institutions across the country are increasingly relying on the PaymentWorks Business Identity Platform to automate critical payee identity processes and eliminate the risk of business payments fraud. Notable new customers include Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), the University of Alabama, and the University of Tennessee.

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Distributed Teams Drive Demand for Digital

Higher education institutions conduct business with thousands of payees. Over the past 10 months, accounts payable and procurement departments are becoming increasingly distributed due to pandemic-driven remote work requirements. Traditional manual payment methods of check cutting and verifying payee credentials for all of those entities are not only inefficient but leave these organizations perilously vulnerable to fraudsters.

PaymentWorks allows for the continuous monitoring and updating of information while preventing fraudsters from compromising existing vendor records and redirecting payments. This unique capability has generated a nearly 70% increase in PaymentWorks higher education customer base over the past year. This includes the addition of four university system deals representing 13 campuses, pointing to demand for centralized shared services.

“We have vendors who like that they now have more control of their information,” said Jeff Crosbie, Director of Procurement at Utah State University. “If they need to change their banking information or their address, they can do that. They don’t need us to be the middleman. This has made us more efficient and it has cut down the chance for mistakes.”

Streamlining and Securing Payee/Supplier Onboarding Process

RPI, the University of Alabama, the University of Tennessee and others have been added to the company roster alongside longtime customers such as Johns Hopkins University and Medical Center, Rutgers University and the University of Kentucky. As established users of the PaymentWorks platform, these customers are onboarding thousands of new payees in record time. Johns Hopkins alone onboarded more than 10,000 new payees during the 2019-2020 academic year as compared to the previous year.

The solution has proven so successful that earlier this month, E&I Cooperative Services, a non-profit procurement cooperative focused exclusively on higher education, partnered with PaymentWorks to offer their members in higher ed and k-12 access to affordable, secure vendor management capabilities. By offering E&I members an opportunity to implement secure, repeatable, transparent vendor onboarding and relationship management processes, schools and universities can make the critical shift to digital payments and secure their operations from external threats. 

“Avoiding business email compromise and falling victim to fraud is at the forefront of every professional working in accounts payable today. These individuals bear the enormous responsbility of authenticating and authorizing payments – thousands of them in some cases – and must ensure they are in fact going to the right vendor, day in and day out,” noted Thayer Stewart, CEO of PaymentWorks. “Unfortunately, more often than not, verifying payee information is still a paper-based, manually intense and error prone process leaving both the university and the individual responsible, vulnerable to increasingly savvy fraudsters. Our solution not only digitizes the process but provides the peace of mind needed. As the industry takes the next step and moves towards centralized shared services to achieve operational efficiency and cost savings, we will be ready to help them make it a reality.”

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