Digital Journal

Thomas Priore on the Future of Embedded Finance for Businesses


Most of the media focus on fintech and embedded finance involves the benefits for consumers. It already has forever changed the way people pay for products and services online. But fintech software that manages invoices, pays suppliers and offers banking as a service is also a game changer in business-to-business payments, says Priority CEO Thomas Priore.

Priore has been among the vanguard of fintech entrepreneurs who have pointed out for years that embedded finance represents the future for businesses of all sizes. While Priority offers a suite of services that help businesses better serve customers, its innovative software systems also improve internal financial processes, leading to better cash flow management and faster B2B transactions.

“We offer the ability to collect, store, and send money from Passport, our unified commerce engine,” Thomas Priore said in an interview with Billion Success. “For any industry that needs to conduct transactions, we can understand the ecosystem and deliver a better way to manage processes while enabling seamless transactions in an easy and elegant platform.”

Priority, which Thomas Priore co-founded in 2005, started by providing digital payments processing services for small and medium-sized businesses. The company has since expanded to offering payments and banking solutions for B2B and enterprise segments. With more than 800,000 clients, the company has grown to become the fifth-largest nonbank payments processor in the United States.

Priore said Priority’s solutions focus both on improved customer experience and answers to common business challenges. “Most consumers experience modern commerce through cellphones and mobile apps, but that’s only half the equation,” he said.

“The other half is figuring out how to help businesses grow by bringing together solutions that solve their problem areas or challenges,” Priore continued. “We focus on creating better payments and banking experiences through technology because cash flow and working capital are necessary to run a business well.”

What Is Embedded Finance and How Is It Used?

Embedded finance involves the seamless integration of financial services into nonfinancial tech platforms. It is rapidly changing how consumers interact with financial products. By embedding services into applications, companies offer a more streamlined and convenient user experience. This eliminates the need for customers to navigate away from their primary activities to engage with financial services. This reduces friction and improves customer satisfaction.

Ride-sharing apps are an example. They incorporate payment processing within their platforms to ensure the entire transaction, from booking to payment, occurs within the app. Priority brings this kind of technology to its clients through the Merchant X suite of services. It’s a customized payments ecosystem that provides solutions for billing, sales tracking, customer engagement and more.

The idea of embedding finance products is expanding into a number of other areas. For example, embedded insurance is becoming more common in the travel industry, where customers can purchase insurance coverage seamlessly while booking a flight or renting a car. These integrations enhance the customer’s experience and open up new revenue streams for businesses. They also provide data insights for businesses that inform further personalization of services for individual customers.

Recently, through an integration with Pipe, Priority has launched Priority Capital, a streamlined platform empowering businesses with seamless access to growth funding based on their transaction data.

“Our mission is to change how any size company manages their money, and offering our customers access to funding through Pipe is a seamless and powerful extension of that mission that will change how they conduct business,” stated Thomas Priore. This embedded capital solution, rapidly deployed within Priority’s ecosystem after a successful pilot, converges payments, banking, and flexible funding options into one unified commerce experience.

Thomas Priore’s belief that embedded finance is the future for companies of all sizes is reflected in his company’s strong earnings growth in recent years. On a recent quarterly earnings call with analysts, he said total customer accounts on Priority’s commerce platform now exceed 1 million and the company processed more than $120 billion in annual transactions. “Our unified commerce vision continues to resonate with our customers, combining payments and banking functionality in a single platform,” Priore said.

Businesses Benefit from Faster B2B Transactions

By integrating financial services directly into business platforms, companies of all sizes can streamline operations and improve efficiency. Services like Priority’s CPX for B2B payments can manage invoices, payments and financing within a single interface.

This integration reduces the time and complexity associated with traditional financial processes, such as waiting for bank transfers or manually managing invoices.

To help explain how quickly embedded finance is becoming adopted in B2B transactions, Thomas Priore used the example of the construction industry. In an interview with PYMNTS Media, he said the industry has quickly adopted the use of embedded financial tools to speed payments.

He noted that the construction industry has always faced challenges with the flow of money, but it has begun to use software that focuses on embedded payments in its operating systems. “If I’m a larger project manager and I’m building a building or a parking garage or stadium, I’m seeking to use modern tools for payments to disperse money out to subcontractors,” he said. “That’s an evolutionary step that’s becoming table stakes … in construction management. So, that’ll be improving cash acceleration.”

He added that there is a “waterfall” of smaller subcontractors, such as HVAC companies, beneath the primary subcontractors on a construction project. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Thomas Priore saw clients in this area adopt technology to accelerate payment resolution.

That adoption of fintech has continued in the post-COVID business world. It’s one factor that has led Thomas Priore to continue focusing his business in digital innovation. As he told Billion Success, “We focus on growth by continually enhancing our platform and offering value-added services that scale with our customers, while providing a high level of support that fuels business growth and working capital needs.”

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