It may not look like it yet, but business travel is headed for a comeback.
At least, that's what commercial card technology players believe, with this week's rundown of the latest initiatives in corporate card solutions placing a focus on returning business trip volume.
At the broader level, commercial card innovators — both within the T&E arena and elsewhere — are pressing further into the spend management space, heightening the ability for businesses to control and analyze expenses as more companies tighten their belts and focus on recovery.
Expensify Links Cards To Booking
In anticipation of rising business travel volume, corporate spend management firm Expensify is expanding functionality of its business card offerings. The company recently announced the rollout of its Concierge Travel tool, which connects businesses that use the Expensify Card to a travel booking tool. The solution offers value-added features like automatic COVID-19 travel alerts and risk analysis, according to Business Travel News, while also enabling corporate travelers to remain within their firms' travel policies. Once booked, the trip can be paid for via the Expensify Card, with transaction details automatically captured for reconciliation and reporting.
Amadeus B2B Wallet Expands Functionality
In another initiative gearing up for the return of corporate travel, travel management platform Amadeus has announced that its payment offering, the Amadeus B2B Wallet, is now able to automatically generate virtual cards through a partnership with Troovo, PYMTNS reported. Troovo's Robotic Process Automation technology has been added to streamline the creation of a virtual card, payment and collection of that transaction data within travel management companies' booking and payment solutions.
Wirecard, Payhawk Eye SMB Expenses
Also focusing its corporate card offering on expense management is Payhawk, which has announced a partnership with Wirecard to roll out commercial card products, PYMNTS reported. The companies revealed that their collaboration supports expense management and integrated budgeting and spend control. By adding a commercial card solution to Payhawk's existing expense management platform, the companies are enabling a more seamless and automated way to capture spend data, as well as analyze and control that spend.
Emirates Islamic Launches Cards For SMBs
United Arab Emirates-based bank Emirates Islamic, a unit of Emirates NBD, is rolling out debit cards for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in an effort to accelerate the ability for SMB owners to access capital and manage cash flow. The Visa debit cards offer additional services, including purchase protection, while the bank is connecting SMB clients to its network of ATMs and cash deposit machines throughout the UAE. The card is compatible with Apple Pay and other wallets as well, reports in Verdict.co.uk said.
BNP Paribas Adds Virtual Cards To Coupa
In another initiative focused on spend management, BNP Paribas announced that it is adding virtual commercial cards within the expense management platform Coupa, linking those cards to Coupa Pay, PYMNTS reported. For joint business customers, the ability to make payments via BNP Paribas virtual cards from within the Coupa Business Spend Management platform aims to streamline the supplier payment process and promote compliance by automatically submitting virtual card information to authorized vendors. The integration also supports automated reconciliation and cash flow management, the companies noted in a press release.
Nium To Issue Visa Cards In Australia
In a partnership with Visa, Singpaore-based FinTech Nium has revealed it is now authorized to issue cards within Australia as part of Visa's FinTech Fast Track program, PYMNTS reported. Nium will be able to issue both consumer and commercial cards that support real-time funds transfers, with Nium pointing to use-cases for the capability that include real-time payroll transfers to a Visa debit card. The cards will also support multiple currencies and spend management features, with Nium also highlighting the opportunity for business owners to support digitization of their money management strategies through adoption of commercial card products.
Cardpay Acquired By Infibeam
Infibeam Avenues has acquired a 100 percent stake in India's Cardpay Technologies, which connects businesses to a spend management platform with integrated corporate card products, PYMTNS reported. Cardpay's GRIT offering includes both physical and virtual commercial cards, invoice processing and early payment discounts for accounts payable operations. According to Infibeam, the takeover strengthens its existing credit offerings, The Hindu Business Line reported.