With the average Paydex Index score dropping fast, SMBs are biting the interchange bullet and encouraging payment cards—all to accelerate payments. In step payment facilitators, who know a few things about fast payments and reducing interchange.

Paydex, a Dun & Bradstreet credit rating for businesses, fell 3 percent during the first half of this year from the last six months of 2015, and that followed a 1 percent increase at the end of last year when compared with the first half of 2015. The decline means companies are taking longer to pay their B2B bills, and to compensate, the waiting businesses ask their customers to use credit cards for payments either in full or as deposit so faster consumer payment fills the void left by slower partner payments.

One processor says the desperation provides opportunity for payment facilitators to ease retailer burdens.

“Though we don’t necessarily use Paydex scores, we are seeing merchants employ third-party software systems to manage all of their accounts receivable, not just delinquent debt,” said Ryan Oakes, director of client services at ProPay, a TSYS company.

“While systems such as these typically involve various fees, companies are realizing that the improved cash flow quickly outweighs any transaction costs. This puts software providers in the perfect position to add value for their clients without much extra cost.”

An October 2015 study from benchmarking metrics non-profit APQC reported that as many as two-thirds of businesses surveyed complained their rate of payments received were slower than in the previous three years. The impact can be significant, according to recent research by MIT’s Sloan School of Management and The Harvard Business School. In a study using small business government contractors, speeding up payments by 15 days was directly tied to the growth of that small business.

The research analysts concluded that each dollar of quicker payments led to an average of an almost 10-cent increase in payroll; two thirds of the 10-cent payroll jump came from new hires and the rest from higher earnings per worker.

So the help PFs can give by enabling card payments doesn’t just help SMBs meet payroll and pay utility bills, it can spur growth.