Affiliate network Awin has announced an investment of £31 million as part of an initiative to ensure its global network of publishers is paid faster, called Accelerated Payments.

The company says the figure represents the amount of working capital it must have available to pay publishers commission in advance of being paid by advertisers, with the US, UK, Germany, France and The Netherlands representing the markets with ”biggest outlays”.

According to an announcement on its blog, this will be a development of its Traffic Lights Payment System which assigns a colour code dependent on commission approval status. Following use with UK and US partners, Awin claims this has reduced time from click to payout, while increased transparency has encouraged affiliates to reinvest in campaigns.

The significant investment will have been made in a bid to counteract one of the industry’s key frustrations with affiliate marketing, with payment speed a crucial factor considered by publishers when comparing networks. In the past, studies have shown that around a third of global affiliates have experienced payments not arriving at all, while nearly all agree that verifiable, timely payments are a key factor in network trust.

“Traditionally, when a publisher generates a sale, their commission status is logged as ‘open/pending’ awaiting the advertiser to review and validate the transaction – this period usually allows for returns,” reads the announcement by Awin’s global communications manager, Sarah Ruzgar; “Once approved, the publisher also has to wait for the advertiser to be invoiced and for that invoice to be paid to Awin.

“With Accelerated Payments, commissions on validated transactions are paid to publishers regardless of when Awin gets paid.”

Publishers using the network will now be able to identify which programmes offer the new service, indicated by a green circle under “Payment Status”. As part of its rollout, advertiser programmes currently with a green status, meaning they’re in credit and ready to pay out, will be marked as offering the fast payment service.

Awin’s global head of publishers, Jasper Mulder, said, “Quicker and more consistent payments provide publishers with a reliable income to invest back into their business, accelerating their performance and development.”

Mulder added that expanding the system from the UK and US to all markets “further unites our network and our services, ensuring that what is successful in one market is made available in all markets”, giving credit to the network’s ongoing objective to globalise its offering.