Corporate payments firm AirPlus has just expanded its commercial card capabilities through a new acquisition.
Reports Thursday (Jan. 19) said AirPlus International reached a deal to acquire corporate card issuer BCC Corporate, based in Belgium, which the firms expect to complete in the second quarter of the year. According to those reports, AirPlus struck the deal as part of a broader effort to strengthen its virtual and mobile payment position across Europe.
The takeover means BCCC’s existing corporate customers will now have access to AirPlus’ business travel payment services, including cards, billing, travel insurance, virtual payment solutions, reporting and expense management.
While the acquisition strengthens AirPlus’ commercial card offerings, it’s also a response to the growing complexity of European card regulations.
“Our industry is remodeling quickly in response to the recent legislation on interchange fees,” said Airplus International Board chairman Patrick W. Diemer in a statement. “The current patchwork of local rules and solutions is too complex: There is clearly a need for a global solution with standardized products and processes. Therefore, this agreement is particularly timely for our customers: It is the best way to help them conduct business efficiently all over Europe, by offering a comprehensive solution and a clear pricing model.”
Last year reports surfaced that AirPlus had to alter its operations in the U.K. after its Payment Systems Regulator ruled that individual corporate cards are not considered commercial cards under the law, making them exempt from EU interchange fees. In response, AirPlus decided to replace the individual corporate pay cards it offered with cards that fall under EU interchange fee rules.
Brexit may mean that the U.K. will no longer adhere to those EU rules, however. Still, AirPlus’ latest takeover is an effort to offer clients an international commercial card solution that can streamline compliance to card regulations across borders.