How PayPal and Durbin Pose Problems for Purchasing Card Programs

P-Card spend in North America is expected to increase to $213 billion by 2012, according to a 2010 report from RPMG Research Corporation. Yet potential challenges for the sector also loom on the horizon with new debit interchange regulations, alternative payment forms (like PayPal), and of course, the ongoing 1099 provision debate.

For the top tips and trends, P-Card representatives from leading FIs, merchants and universities gathered last week on the Boston College campus at the Boston Regional Forum for the National Association of Purchasing Card Professionals (NAPCP). Established in 2000, the NAPCP focuses on providing resources, industry updates, networking opportunities and connecting end-user and industry service providers. The association has expanded to not only support the advancement of commercial cards but e-payables, prepaid and travel programs as well. (Learn more about NAPCP resources)

Increased card distribution plans, overall organization budget and use of electronic accounts payable solutions are expected result in a 78% rise in P-Card spend between 2009 – 2012, stated Laura Flandrick, NAPCP Managing Director and Co-Founder (View Laura’s bio). While the new debit interchange limits do not directly impact P-Card programs, Flandrick noted the potential future impact could be multi-faceted, such as a reduction in revenue-sharing incentives, additional program fees and less technology innovation and customer service. Watch the video clip below for more of her thoughts:

The rise of alterative payment services, such as PayPal, are also presenting new opportunities – and issues – for P-Card managers, pointed out Cecilia McClay (Manager, University Card Program for Boston College):

McClay overall highlighted how Boston College’s culture of creativity has led to expanded, non-standard uses for purchasing cards, such as to fund and monitor the spending of student clubs and scholarship athletes. Her presentation featured just some of the many strategies and recommendations the forum offered P-Card managers. Flandrick stressed to attendees the importance of establishing commercial conducting regular spend analysis to identify additional categories to target for cards, considering the supplier side when selecting a payment method, as well as to integrate Commercial Card systems with other transaction systems (e.g., procurement, accounts payable, and finance—G/L). She also addressed best practices for tax management and staff training.

To learn more about how NAPCP can help enhance your organization’s P-Card program or to attend an upcoming event, visit their website at


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