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Airbase vs Zip: Which Intake-to-Pay Solution Fits Your Business?

Here we compare two leaders in the procurement automation space: Zip and Airbase, including key features, pros, cons, and pricing. Ready to step it up a notch with your procurement?

In an age of rapid technological advancements, organizations are increasingly turning to procure-to-pay solutions to streamline operations, save on costs, optimize strategic sourcing, and strengthen controls.

Macroeconomic challenges like rising inflation, supply chain risks, and global growth can squeeze your margins and deplete resources. P2P software has emerged as an indispensable tool to automate the entire spectrum of processes, from intelligent intake to purchase orders, supplier management, taxes, reconciliation, and more.

Two key players in the procurement software space are Airbase and Zip, both promising to revolutionize how companies automate financial processes. In this article, we take a closer look at the two platforms, including key features, pros, cons, and pricing.

What is Airbase?

Airbase is a spend management platform that focuses on modernizing finance operations for mid-market businesses. The system is used to control spending, manage financial risk, and close the books faster. 

The platform’s guided approach to procurement management streamlines all tasks, from initial request to payment, making it easy for employees to buy what they need, while keeping essential stakeholders in the loop. 

Airbase combines accounts payable automation with expense management and corporate cards that benefit everyone, including employees, accounting teams, and vendors. It seamlessly integrates with popular systems like NetSuite, QuickBooks, and Sage.

Airbase Pricing

Airbase pricing offers three plans that are all quote-based.

  • Standard package is for up to 200 employees and offers fast time-to-value to start saving immediately.
  • Premium package applies to 500 or less employees, allowing you to manage efficiency and compliance at scale.
  • Enterprise plan applies to 5,000 employees and offers the ultimate visibility and control with their most advanced configuration that offers a complete depth of features.

Main Features

Airbase is designed to facilitate financial controls, streamline procurement, and consolidate transactions. Here are some of the top features the platform offers:

Guided Procurement

The Guided Procurement feature directs employees to efficient, fully documented, compliant, and approved spending. It makes it easier for teams to adopt procurement policies, streamlines intake, and support stakeholder requirements.

Eliminate the friction and confusion with automated workflows that facilitate purchasing and promote more employee adoption. It directs staff to gather the right information and documentation needed, so all necessary purchases are secured before a purchase is made.

Automated Vendor Portal

Airbase features a self-service vendor portal to provide contact, banking, and tax details, while strengthening your global vendor relationships. 

This type of automated vendor portal gives them greater visibility into the payment status of every invoice, and W-9 tax collection facilitates 1099 reporting. You can even customize the vendor questionnaire to get the data you really need from vendors.

Policy Compliance

Automated approval workflows ensure compliance with company policies. Airbase enables a business to set mandatory fields, budget limits, and a window of time for submission. 

If an employee submits an out-of-policy request, it can be flagged or blocked. The system will then provide clarity to the employee so they can make any necessary changes to the request.

Global Capabilities

Pay vendors in over 200 countries, supporting 145+ currencies through ACH, check, virtual card, vendor credits, or international wires. Everything is consolidated in a universal AP dashboard. 

Airbase will automatically select the preferred payment for each vendor and will even note when virtual card payments are accepted to earn cashback and discounts. Payment amounts can also be split by category.

Corporate Cards

Airbase has corporate cards powered by its top-ranked spend management solution. Enjoy a streamlined, controlled process, where all details sync to your general ledger. 

Airbase offers both virtual and physical cards with unlimited cashback across all categories of spend. When employees create virtual cards for one-time payments, a full audit trail is generated, and transactions are automatically booked to the GL.

Pros of Airbase

  • Enterprise-grade Capabilities: A global solution that delivers enterprise-grade capabilities in a user-friendly package for company-wide adoption.
  • Outstanding reimbursements: The reimbursement module helps to more quickly and effectively manage things like mileage.
  • Customer support: Highly efficient customer service support. Responses are quick, reasonable, and not passed off to an automated system.
  • Advanced approvals: The approval workflows are set up in a way that enables each team to be fully automated and forbids the circumvention of controls.
  • Beta features: Customers can receive early access to beta features upon request (such as advanced approvals or receipt audits).

Cons of Airbase

  • Complex navigation: Some online reviews state that the user interface can be non-intuitive, taking lots of clicks to get to where you want to go.
  • Recurring payments: Currently no ability to set up recurring payments. You have to submit individual expenses each month.
  • Custom reporting: Users state there is a need for more roll-up reporting for expense groups, such as all the expenses associated with one trip.

What is Zip?

Zip (also called ZipHQ) is a procurement and spend management software that provides one place for employees to initiate a purchase or vendor request. These requests are then routed for approval across finance, IT, legal, and other teams in a single PR workflow.

Zip is a SaaS platform that integrates into ERP and P2P solutions to accomplish tasks that range from intake to payments. They have recently added a range of P2P features for full intake-to-pay functionality. 

The Zip suite of features enables a business to reduce financial burden by up to 40%, get involved in spend earlier, reduce compliance leakage, mitigate risk, and improve the employee experience. You can centralize purchase and vendor requests, simplify cross-functional approvals, and unlock visibility for 97% of pre-contact spending.

Zip Pricing

Zip pricing is custom and starts with a free, 15-minute scheduled demo. The SaaS fees are based on the number of FTEs in your organization, while all employees are granted access. 

The Zip system will know a customer’s FTE counted based on the HRIS connection. Thus, the pricing scales as you grow.

Main Features

Zip is an intake-to-pay platform that helps a business eliminate errors, reduce manual labor, and scale procurement operations. Here are some of the top features Zip has to offer:

Intelligent Intake

The Zip platform focuses on the intake process, providing automated forms that guide the requester and loop them in with the proper stakeholders. 

After approval, you have complete visibility into the open purchase order. The Zip system will ingest and categorize vendors, then flag any overlaps or duplicates. Approval chains can also be generated based on request details. This leads to a faster approval process and lower administrative costs.

Vendor Management

The Zip platform streamlines vendor relationships, offering an all-in-one solution that nurtures strategic sourcing and collaboration. Teams can create a single source of truth for all vendor data and facilitate communication between cross-functional teams regarding contracts and risk reviews.

You can also use Zip to automate contract planning. Initiate renewal workflows well ahead of the deadline, giving stakeholders ample time to make data-driven decisions.

Spend Insights

Gain early visibility into spend through an automated intake process. Understand the full lifecycle and diagnose requirements early to unlock bigger savings opportunities. Optimize the steps that other systems miss, analyze cycle times to slash SLAs, and boost productivity.

The Zip platform enables a business to report on savings through an easily readable dashboard. It will consolidate transaction data so you can track realized savings from every deal and compare committed spend budgets.

AP Automation

Zip offers an intuitive intake process that will capture essential details at the request stage. This leads to the automatic creation of POs and initiates the AP process. Automatic PO-matching and best-in-class workflows relieve approval bottlenecks and ensure timely payments. The data flows downstream from request, all the way to payment.

An organization can also use Zip to scan, capture, and validate invoices with industry-leading accuracy. This works to accelerate the AP cycle by 50%. 

Global Payments

Automate payments and reduce manual processing delays by meeting vendor obligations wherever they’re based. Pay to over 140 countries in 40+ currencies, and fund payments from 30+ countries. 

Reduce global transaction and processing costs by using a wide range of acceptable payment methods. You can also prevent payment errors by validating and approving payment upfront. 

Pros of Zip

  • Single source of truth: Manage all information in a single system, with pre-contract visibility into 95% of spend.
  • Influence spend early on: All requests go through Zip, so customers gain early visibility into spend before it’s finalized.
  • Drive adoption: Establish a single front door for end users with guided intake and an intuitive experience.
  • Smarter sourcing: Give procurement, finance, IT, and other teams, a one place to collaborate on vendor selection.
  • Boost efficiency: Teams have saved over 500 hours per FTE annually.

Cons of Zip

  • Complex navigation: Some online reviews have mentioned a sharp learning curve and confusing interface, making it challenging to easily navigate features.
  • Limited reporting: Many users have expressed the desire for more robust reporting, insights, and custom analytics tools.
  • Lack of proxying: Users cannot proxy as another user to reassign approvals more conveniently.

Ready for a financial swiss army knife?

If you really need an end-to-end, all-in-one solution, Tipalti has your bases covered. Get started on your procurement automation journey today.

Zip vs. Airbase

Intake ProcessIntake workflows that adapt questions and selections based on how requesters answer, providing policy guidance in context.Guided intake process, directing employees the gather the right data and documents needed by various stakeholders.Smart intake process with predefined custom forms, employees can easily submit purchase and supplier related requests.
ProcurementCapabilities that focus on intake-to-procure, but downstream, their procure-to-pay capabilities are rather new.Automated procurement with seamless collaboration for stakeholders, no-code configurations, enforced compliance, and vendor management.Integrated procurement and payables solution to streamline purchases with user-friendly requisitions, improve spend controls, enhance compliance, and reduce payables processing time.
Purchase OrdersCaptures essential data at the request stage, automating purchase order creation with powerful configurations and line item details.Automated PO management that supports 2 and 3-way PO matching, routing to appropriate approvers based on policies. Automatically generate POs once a purchase request is approved, with no need for manual entry. 2 and 3-way PO matching.
Approval WorkflowsLoop in stakeholders, sequenced and parallel-tracked approvals, visibility to track purchase and vendor approval pipeline, adjustable approval workflows.Advanced approvals with customized workflows and real-time notifications that ensure compliance.Rule-based approvals routing that eliminates bottlenecks and inaccuracies, integrating with 30+ ticketing systems.
ContractsFeatures for centralized communication on contract approvals through a single source.No featured offering for contract management.Contract interface to add and search contracts, and set automated notifications for renewals and renegotiations.
Supplier ManagementSelf-service registration for supplier intake and approval, but no contingent workforce capabilities (contractors, freelancers) or fee splitting.Invite vendors to Airbase where they can input payment data, upload contracts, tax documents, and track payments. 

Custom registration forms, self-service supplier portal collecting financial, contact, and contractual data with choice of currency, payment method, etc. 
InvoicingOCR data capture, Invoice inbox and email sync, vendor portal invoice uploads, two-way PO matching, dynamic approval routing.OCR technology with automated approval workflows. Capture and view invoices that are submitted via email or through the vendor portal across all subsidiaries. OCR and advanced data extraction, change logic applied to future invoices, custom fields, 2 and 3-way PO matching, expense accounts auto-filled based on predictive smart logic, pre-defined approval rules, and batch invoicing.
Corporate CardsVirtual cards are used as vendor payment method. No physical cards.Versatile card program with virtual or physical cards with unlimited cashback. Physical and virtual cards; manage and reconcile spend, receive cash-back, integrate with global payables platform bringing financial controls into card spend with automatic reconciliation.
Analytics and ReportingSpend analytics and insights to analyze cycle times, consolidate transaction data, and track realized savings.Track actuals against budget, easily syncing to your GL and pull real-time spending reports.Offers next-level spend analytics enhanced by powerful filter and search functionality.
Expense ManagementNoneTouchless expense reporting with receipt scanning, which automatically populates expense request details using OCR.Automated expense policies, global reimbursements, reconciliation of transactions, reimbursements captured, categorized, and processed. Integrates with Tipalti card.
Global CapabilitiesPay in 140+ countries and 40+ currencies. ACH, international ACH, wire, and check payment methods. Partnered with Airwallex for payments. Reimburse expenses from a U.S.-based subsidiary to bank accounts located locally in 44 supported countries and 14 currencies.Mass payments across 196 countries and 120 currencies with 6 different payment methods.Regulated MSB with MTLs across US. E-Money license in UK with FCA. Blue-chip bank partners Citi, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo (plus Visa & PayPal). 
Taxes and ComplianceTax form collection is part of vendor intake but there is no KPMG-approved digital tax form capture and validation or global tax coverage.Automates W-9 collection through vendor onboarding.KPMG-approved tax capability for IRSCollect and validate IRS and VAT tax IDsMaintain W-9, W-8BEN, VAT Details, with 1099 and 1042-S preparation reports.
IntegrationsAmazon Punchouts, Slack, Asana, Jira, ServiceNow, Zendesk, NetSuite, Sage Intacct, QuickBooks, Microsoft Dynamics, Xero, Oracle ERP, SAP ERP, and Workday.Oracle NetSuite,Sage Intacct,Intuit QuickBooks, Jira, Ironclad, DocuSign, Asana, Slack, Microsoft, and more. Oracle,NetSuite, Workday, Venminder, ProcessUnity, OneTrust, Ironclad, DocuSign, Jira, Asana, ServiceNow, Zendesk, Slack, Xero, Sage Intacct, Microsoft Dynamics, SAP, and more. 

Tipalti as an Alternative

One of the top alternatives to both Airbase and Zip is the Tipalti solution. The platform automates the entire procure-to-pay cycle, eliminating 80% of the workload. Tipalti offers an unparalleled level of procurement automation, global compliance, supplier onboarding, invoice management, PO-matching, multi-entity cloud architecture, and enterprise-grade financial controls.

Tipalti is honored to be on the Spend Matters 50 Providers to Know list for the fourth consecutive year. The brand is recognized for being a finance industry leader that consistently pioneers innovative procurement technologies and services.

Customers gain significant advantages by using Tipalti over non-regulated providers. That’s because Tipalti is a regulated money services business (MSB). They possess a US money transmitter license (MTL) in every state that requires them and are authorized by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as an Electronic Money Institution. 

Tipalti partners with blue-chip banks like Citi, JP Morgan, and Wells Fargo, and has redundancy between built-ins for fast and reliable global payment remittance.

When comparing Tipalti vs Airbase or Tipalti vs Zip, here are some key differences to note:

Holistic Approach

Tipalti offers a holistic, end-to-end solution that includes everything from requisition intake to payments. Although Airbase and Zip also cover these bases, both focus more on the upstream of intake to procure. 

Airbase and Zip lack the depth and maturity of capabilities you will get with Tipalti downstream (AP automation, global payments, advanced compliance, etc.). Tipalti’s breadth of solutions are also unmatched by ZIP, with the recent introduction of cards and expense management.

Although some may view Tiaplti in the same bucket as Concur or Coupa, Tipalti Approve enables finance and procurement teams to gain visibility and control over spending. It streamlines purchase requests, approvals, and vendors.

Why piece together disparate “intake to procure” & “procure to pay” systems when you can meet all of your needs seamlessly with a single provider? In addition to procurement capabilities, Tipalti also offers advanced tax compliance, invoice management, global remittance, FX, card solutions, and more.


Tipalti boasts a KPMG-approved tax engine that meets IRS and global requirements. The system collects and validates IRS, VAT tax IDs, W-9, W-8BEN, against +3,000 rules. The supplier onboarding workflow generates 1099/1042-S tax prep files for EOY reporting. The system also collects and validates local/VAT tax IDs for non-US countries.

Zip and Airbase do not offer advanced, built-in tax features, validation, or regulatory compliance controls. For Zip, tax form collection is part of the vendor intake, but there are no KPMG-approved digital tax features. 

The same goes for Airbase. There is no tax validation or controls to prevent incorrect uploads or inaccurate data. There is also no feature for digital tax form capture, validation, and withholdings calculations, nor are there 1099 and 1042-s tax prep reports.

Sanctions Screening

Unlike the Tipalti solution, Airbase and Zip do not offer proactive OFAC or sanctions screening. This puts a business at risk of paying a bad entity on a government blacklist, resulting in frozen accounts. 

Tipalti always goes the extra mile and actively screens payees before every transaction has been processed, which helps with regulatory compliance.

Supplier Management

Although all three systems have a supplier portal, Tipalti is the only platform to offer a customizable, branded supplier portal that’s available 24/7. 

Vendors can update their contact and banking data in a single dashboard, with 26,000+ global payment validation rules to verify data in real-time. The white-label service allows suppliers to perform a variety of tasks like:

  • Select currency
  • Choose payment method
  • Set payment thresholds
  • View histories
  • Receive branded notifications

Airbase and Zip supplier portals also have limited payment options compared to Tipalti. The Tipalti solution is the only one to offer fee-splitting as well.


Although Zip and Airbase have significant integration capabilities, nothing compares to Tipalti’s offering. The system has strong API integrations with Sage Intacct, QuickBooks, NetSuite, Xero, and Microsoft Dynamics. 

Tipalti also has seamless ERP integrations via pre-built connectors, using a drag-and-drop interface, with no code required.


When it comes to invoicing, Zip and Airbase offer OCR capabilities, but the Tipalti solution really drills down. The system offers header and line-level data capture with change logic applied to future invoices using ML. 

Custom fields and expense accounts are auto-filled based on predictive, smart logic, with 2 and 3-way PO matching. Tipalti also offers pre-defined approval rules or custom approval flows based on organizational structure and an approval matrix with predictive routing, in-mail bill approvals, and unlimited approvers.

In contrast, Zip and Airbase do not offer 3-way PO matching, auto-GL coding, or predictive routing.

Global Remittance

Tipalti is a regulated MSB with MTLs across the United States and an E-Money license in the UK with FCA. The system pays to 196 countries in 120 currencies, using 12 payment methods (ACH, global ACH /eCheck, check, wire transfer, PayPal, prepaid debit). The platform works to prevent fraud with detailed payee monitoring and proactive screening before every payment including screening of payees against OFAC/SDN lists.

Zip is partnered with a third party (Airwallex) for payments. There is no AI-based fraud detection or MTL. Payment methods are also limited (both Zip and Airbase do not work with PayPal). Global compliance is also difficult. Airbase offers no GDPR or SOC compliance, nor does it screen payees against the OFAC and SDN lists.

Summing It Up

In a sea of different fintech options, the choice between Airbase and Zip hinges on the unique needs and priorities of your business. If it’s simply to solve a few simple challenges in the procurement process, Zip may be a good decision. 

Airbase offers slightly more comprehensive spend management capabilities. As you navigate these tools, understanding your exact needs and the nuances of these systems is crucial to making the best selection.

Another option is to explore a more holistic solution like Tipalti. That way, when your business grows, you already have the tools to scale. 

The comprehensive procure-to-pay platform takes care of everything from intake to purchase requests, contracting, supplier management, invoicing, payments, reconciliation, global tax compliance, and more. 

Embracing Tipalti is a sound investment and a contribution to the future success of your business. Get started with Tipalti today!

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