The commercial card space is anything but straightforward. For one, payments innovation has created an explosion in the types of cards businesses can use, from fleet cards to one-time-use virtual cards. What’s more, the space continues to struggle with adoption, whether it be encouraging suppliers to accept commercial cards as payment or convincing businesses to adopt unfamiliar — but more secure — virtual card technology.
But innovators in the space press on. One of them is CSI globalVCard, a winner in the 2016 PYMNTS Innovation Project Awards. A year later, the company told PYMNTS, commercial and virtual card tools are going global — and so is CSI globalVCard.
“We are launching globally for the first time, starting with Europe,” Global Executive Vice President Heather Stone said. “We’ll be in other continents by the end of the year.”
An international vision of corporate card technology will be critical in the coming years as businesses demand international payment solutions, Stone explained.
“Global multinationals are requesting a global platform and visibility to their global payments,” she said. “Banks are also looking for these FinTech solutions for their current customers, offering more visibility and support of virtual cards in the AP space.”
Commercial card players like CSI globalVCard have had to get innovative when it comes to promoting use of cards in accounts payable. Research from Mercator Advisory Group last December said corporate buyers and FinTechs must stay persistent with their card promotion.
“While the commercial card industry continues to benefit from the ongoing shift away from cash and checks and the increase in purchase volume, vast opportunities still exist for growth in cards a payables tools,” said Mercator Director of Commercial and Enterprise Payments Advisory Service Steve Murphy in a statement announcing the report. “There is substantial untapped potential, given the size of the market. The effort to drive further adoption of virtual cards among suppliers is one of the key activities of commercial card issuers and their corporate clients.”
CSI globalVCard has made its own efforts to tap into that potential in recent years. According to Stone, the company said there has been growth in its virtual cards operations of 236 percent in the last three years in the U.S. alone and growth of 505 percent in Canada. Its service targeting the corporate travel space in particular saw massive growth of more than 4,000 percent between 2015 and 2016.
Since winning the IP award last year, the company has continued to promote innovation, largely through the expansion of its existing FinTech incubator program, CSI Kick Start, announced last month. Already, Stone said, the incubator has four new startup members receiving funding and guidance from CSI globalVCard.
“CSI’s innovation is continuing to take the very traditional payment platforms of ACH and check and offering virtual cards with full visibility and support wrapped around the day-to-day functions,” Stone explained of the company’s approach to innovation. “This is very similar to where payroll has gone with most companies outsourcing this function, and AP is now becoming this next outsourced function. The banking industry has been searching for the trusted partners that offer a complete end-to-end solution for their global multinationals, and CSI has answered that call.”
Over the last year, the company also revealed in May that its virtual card services will be integrated into MacNair Travel Management’s platform, a corporate travel booking solution. A few months later, in July, CSI announced plans to expand its staff in response to rising demand, adding a trio of executives to expand its global partnership operations.
“Innovation means pushing the envelope in the payments industry,” Stone said, “by attacking a problem that’s not been fully solved and pivoting when needed.”