Corporate Cards Dig Their Heels Into New Markets

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Corporate card innovators are digging their heels deeper into markets in which card penetration is relatively low, with solution providers hoping to link businesses to card benefits like enhanced cash flow management. This week’s look at Commercial Card Innovation finds Mastercard eyeing India, Visa targeting Finland, and CardUp focusing on Asia to help small and medium-sized businesses use and accept corporate card payments.

Mastercard Drives Corporate Cards In India

With a focus on the India market, Mastercard has struck a new partnership with digital payment solution provider EnKash. A recent press release revealed the tie-up will see Mastercard expanding commercial card use and acceptance in the country, with EnKach’s payment platform connecting businesses to supplier enablement services that allow suppliers to wield the Mastercard network to accept cards. The companies are targeting small and medium-sized business suppliers, they said, noting that card acceptance can promote adoption of more sophisticated B2B payment processes. In a statement, Mastercard Chief Operating Officer for South Asia Vikas Varma said the joint offering allows “businesses to better manage their working capital needs and improve efficiencies through automation and enhanced reconciliation.”

Billhop Links With Visa Finland For SMB Cash Flow

In a new partnership, Billhop is collaborating with Visa Finland and Oma Saastopankki Oyj (OmaSp) on a new solution to help small businesses manage cash flow and liquidity. As part of the partnership, OmaSp is rolling out a small business Visa credit card with integrated Billhop functionality for invoice and bill payment. According to Visa Finland Country Manager Riikka Salminen, the card is the “first of its kind” in the country. In another statement, Billhop CEO Sebastian Andreescu said the collaboration “marks an important step in commercial issuer cooperation” as the commercial card industry seeks new revenue streams amid declining corporate travel spend. Driving card acceptance is “the foremost obstacle in the B2B space” for commercial cards, he added, noting Billhop removes this point of friction to enable corporates to pay their suppliers via card.

CardUp Talks SMB Commercial Card Use

In a recent interview with PYMNTS, CardUp CEO Nicki Ramsay discussed the value of the commercial card for small business users across Asia, where penetration of the B2B payment method is relatively low. While in certain markets the key benefits of cards include cash back and other rewards, in Asia, said Ramsay, the card can offer a valuable way for businesses to tap into previously unused lines of credit.

“We see it as a new way for small businesses to use and benefit from their commercial card, by enabling small businesses to use their card as a financing tool, similar to having a loan in your pocket,” Ramsay said. “With CardUp, business expenses not payable by card can now be shifted to an existing commercial credit card — even where recipients do not accept card payments. This allows business owners to make use of a pre-approved credit line, freeing even more cash on hand for other purposes resulting in improved cash flow.”

Plastiq Widens Scope Beyond The Card

While known for its corporate card payment solutions, Plastiq is broadening its offering with the introduction of bank transfer capabilities. The company recently announced that its payment platforms will now support direct bank transfers in addition to commercial card payments that allow businesses to pay their bills in one place. The solution, Plastiq said, is designed to help businesses consolidate their bill payments even with vendors that don’t traditionally accept cards. Stoyan Kenderov, chief product and technology officer, said in a press release that the expanded offering supports cash, card and check payments, with this versatility enabling businesses “to better manage their cash flow and save thousands of dollars in time spent on making or tracking payments across disparate tools and services.”

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