The payments digitization push has ramped up for corporates in recent months, with growing corporate card adoption attributed to the pandemic, recent Mastercard data reveals.
Yet it's not only the need to embrace electronic payments that is encouraging government agencies, small businesses and larger enterprises to embrace the payment tool. In this week's Commercial Card Innovation Tracker, PYMNTS rounds up the latest innovations that showcase how industry players are looking beyond the card itself — and toward API integrations and value-added features — to encourage corporate card use.
U.S. Lawmakers Eye Expanded Fleet Card Use
Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced a bill that would enable government agencies to use fleet charge cards for electric vehicles, recent Nextgov reports said this week. In an effort to streamline the way federal agents make payments related to their government electric vehicles, the legislation, dubbed the CHARGE Act (the Charging Helps Agencies Realize General Efficiencies Act) was introduced by Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH).
As a companion measure to legislation introduced in the Senate, the bill would allow for fleet service cards to cover EV charging in addition to refueling for standard gas-powered vehicles.
"Fleet service cards act just like credit cards at a gas station," Rep. Khanna said in a statement. "We should let them be used for EV charging, too."
Mastercard Streamlines Amazon Expense Management
For businesses that make purchases on Amazon, Mastercard has struck a collaboration to streamline the expense management and reconciliation process. Together with expense management FinTech Emburse, Mastercard and Amazon Business will enable joint corporate customers to automate the capture and management of spend data through enhanced functionality like automated receipt generation and expense itemization.
Businesses using Mastercard cards on Amazon Business can benefit from the integrated and automated data capture. Mastercard Executive Vice President of Global Commercial Products James Anderson noted that such efficiencies are part of the evolving nature of B2B payments.
"Business-to-business payments are changing to work harder and smarter, and to capitalize on the accelerating shift to the digital economy," he stated. "Mastercard is modernizing the business payment ecosystem to provide greater control, automation and efficiencies."
Brex Broadens Partnership Base
Brex, a FinTech company linking corporate card technologies to startups, has announced new partners SAP Concur and Xero to broaden its value offering for business customers.
In a recent press release, Brex said it is integrating with SAP Concur's Concur Expense solution, as well as Xero's accounting platform, to automatically link transaction data generated from spend on the Brex Card into these portals. According to Brex, the connectivity is part of the company's broader API strategy to build out expanded infrastructure for its business users.
Airbase Spend Signals Rising Card Adoption
While corporate travel has all but gone away, business spend on cards hasn't, even amid the pandemic. That's according to commercial card FinTech Airbase, which recently revealed a 500 percent increase in spend volumes among its user base in Q2 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
As that volume grows, Airbase told TechCrunch that the company is not looking to become a holistic corporate spend software solution provider, but simply a corporate card company. Like Brex, it's yet another example of a corporate card company looking beyond the card itself to drive adoption and value.
Driving the expansion of the commercial card is certainly a goal of a growing number of service providers in this space, which view the industry a potentially lucrative one. According to TechCrunch, Airbase saw a 280 percent jump in its annual recurring revenue (ARR) in the fiscal year that ended July 31, 2020, with Airbase counting interchange fees within that statistic.