Card Incentives Jump On Businesses’ Shift Away From Cash

credit cards

Going cashless has long been a conversation in the consumer payments world, but a new report from HSBC in the U.K. suggests businesses could be following suit.

Analysis of contactless card transactions revealed that the volume of commercial card contactless payments, both debit and credit, jumped 24 percent between 2018 and 2019.

At the same time, commercial credit cards’ cash advances dropped 14 percent last year.

According to HSBC, the data could signal a decline in businesses’ use of “petty cash” as corporates make the shift to corporate cards. This week’s look at the latest in commercial card innovation explores the latest technology offerings adding new incentives for businesses to make that switch, from cash-back rewards to streamlined employee expense management and faster access to earned revenues.

SumUp Wields Cards For Faster Revenue

U.K.-based SumUp announced the debut of its business credit card in conjunction with Mastercard this week, with a focus on accelerating businesses’ access to revenue flowing in via SumUp’s point of sale (POS) platform.

The launch of the SumUp card aims to address friction in both the “making and taking of payments,” the company said in its announcement, connecting small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to next-day payouts and an automated flow of funds from their SumUp card readers to the SumUp card.

Visa Links With Konfío On SMB Cards

In Mexico, FinTech Konfío recently revealed a collaboration with Visa to connect SMBs in the country to corporate cards. Reports in Contxto said businesses can access virtual cards on the Konfío platform, which touts an accelerated application and approval process, enabling businesses to use their v-card immediately while they wait for a physical card in the mail.

According to reports, the solution aims to reduce small businesses’ reliance on personal credit to finance and manage business spend.

HDFC Collaborates On Corporate Card

HDFC Bank is collaborating with Mastercard and SAP Concur in India to roll out a new corporate card to streamline business spend and expense management. The card transaction data will automatically integrate into SAP Concur, the companies’ announcement said this week, highlighting the control and transparency that integrated card technology provides.

“This enables [corporates] to uncover valuable spend data, simplify processes, and make smart decisions,” said SAP Concur India Managing Director Mankiran Chowhan in a statement.

Center Expands Beyond Cards For T&E

Center had initially debuted its business spend management solution in the form of a commercial card tool with integrated touchscreen and battery, but GeekWire reports this week said the company is now expanding beyond commercial card technology with the debut of its expense management platform.

Describing the launch as a “pivot,” reports said Center is focusing on artificial intelligence to automate expense reporting for the middle market, though the company will continue to connect clients with a Visa corporate card that can integrate automatically into its expense software.

Targeted for businesses with between 50 to 1,000 employees, Center’s platform targets firms that “don’t really have the traditional manager or dedicated staff accountants” to manage a program from the likes of Concur, which has invested in Center, according to Center CEO Naveen Singh.

Ramp Banks On Cash-Back

B2B FinTech Ramp made its market debut last week with its commercial credit card that offers a cash-back program designed to entice business users to take control of their spend. According to reports, the company wants to help businesses spend less — not more — on its cards by exposing spending waste and overspending from card transaction data analytics.

“For businesses, a dollar saved is 100 times better than a reward point earned,” said CEO and Co-founder Eric Glyman.

Reports in Pulse2.0 said the company also announced $25 million in funding for its technology led by Founders Fund’s Keith Rabois.

Transportation Drags WEX’s Fleet Card Segment

Commercial payments technology company WEX released its Q4 earnings results late last week, and while CEO Melissa Smith highlighted 2019 as “another record year” for the company, reports in FreightWaves noted the impact of the trucking industry’s slowdown on fleet card earnings.

Total fuel payments processed rose less than 1 percent year-over-year, with fuel price declines weighing down on the numbers, reports said.

“We continue to see challenges in the trucking market,” said WEX Chief Financial Officer Roberto Simon, adding that the “biggest drag” on this segment of the company’s operations stems from the transportation industry.

The highest fleet credit losses stem from small over-the-road fleets, the company noted.