When businesses consider signing up for a commercial card program, they often look first—and sometimes only—at the rebate that comes with the program. However, commercial cards offer much more than rebates. When a business chooses the right card program for its needs, it may help the business grow.
Choosing the right card program
When seeking out a card program, businesses should first determine what they are trying to solve for. If a company needs a program for T&E (travel and expenses), it should look for a card program that provides expense management capabilities, virtual payment options with controls, the ability to restrict purchases to certain merchant category codes, and reporting.
If the company needs a purchasing card for supplies, it should search for a program that will improve the efficiency of the company’s accounts payable operations and provide detailed spending controls; robust, internet-based card management tools for cost allocation and reporting; vendor enablement services; and revenue-sharing options.
Whether for purchasing or T&E, a commercial card program offers significant working capital benefits for the businesses that use them. Card programs allow businesses to impose controls on T&E spending, to maximize their cash flow, and to gain access to real-time information about company and employee expenses. Each purchase comes with receipt data, so the business has valuable information about every card transaction at its fingertips. Moreover, commercial cards help to automate payables processes and thus boost payables efficiencies. And of course, businesses generate revenue from card rebates.
These features and benefits help a company grow because the company can earn revenue on its card spending—thus driving down costs—while also exercising greater control and discipline over its spending.
Some may wonder why a business might choose to pay with a card instead of other, cheaper payment types, but cards can offer an earned revenue stream from spending. Cards can also be used for a wide variety of expenses, and businesses can set controls on those expenses. Moreover, if a business uses virtual payments in the program, its fraud exposure can be reduced.
Will vendors accept them?
When considering a card program, some businesses worry that their vendors will not accept card payments, but many vendors view cards as a reliable way to be paid quickly and safely. With today’s card capabilities, vendors are also benefiting from buyer-initiated payments, in which the funds are pushed directly into the merchant’s account. This “push payment” capability saves merchants the time and money they would normally spend on processing the transactions themselves.
Partnering for growth
Perhaps the most important component of a commercial card program is the partner bank that issues the cards and administers the program. The best partners provide a strong support team that helps the company optimize the card program and find ways to make payments more efficiently. First National Bank of Omaha has a long, successful track record of helping companies of various sizes to make the most of their card programs. To learn more about our card programs and their potential to grow your business, call us at 800-853-9586 or email FNBOcommercialcard@fnni.com.
About the Author
Carrie has over 20 years of banking and payments industry experience. In her current role, Carrie has the opportunity to work with large corporate clients. She enjoys learning about their business and helping them grow by providing a range of solutions, including commercial card and corporate treasury services.
The articles in this blog are for informational purposes only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations. When making decisions about your financial situation, consult a financial professional for advice. Articles are not regularly updated, and information may become outdated.