Biz Card Innovation Persists Amid T&E Slowdown
Corporate T&E spend may be down thanks to the continued hiatus of business trips, but that doesn’t mean commercial card activity is on the wane. In this week’s Commercial Card Tracker, PYMNTS looks at the latest quarterly figures from American Express, while new solutions in India’s fleet card market and the U.S. payroll card sector reflect continued industry innovation.
American Express Posts Mixed Q3
Commercial card transaction volume is a key strength of American Express, but with business trips still MIA, the company’s third-quarter earnings churned out mixed numbers. Non-travel and expense management activity contributed to most of its gains, the company said this week. Looking ahead, American Express said its investment strategy will be “selective” in the long term, pointing to the recent acquisition of small business lending platform Kabbage. Its outlook for credit losses improved for the quarter, with provisions for credit losses down year over year to $665 million.
Fino Payments Bank Strikes Fleet Card Partnership
In India, Fino Payments Bank is working with fuel company BPCL to develop digital fleet card solutions for truck drivers in the country. BPCL offers its Smartfleet cards, but drivers had limited options when it came to topping those cards up. With its Fino Payments Bank collaboration, BPCL’s fleet card solutions can now be topped up when drivers pay cash at the bank’s locations. The collaboration effectively digitizes cash for truck drivers, the companies said.
Alliance Data Shifts Commercial Card Processor
Alliance Data Systems Corporation is migrating its commercial card processing business to Fiserv, according to a recent announcement by the companies. Alliance Data’s Card Services business enables branded, co-branded and commercial card programs for its corporate clients. In a statement, Alliance Data President and CEO Ralph Andretta pointed to Fiserv’s “modern, flexible and scalable platform” to process these payments, which will allow Alliance to integrate additional value-added features into its payment product suite moving forward.
SHRM Eyes Payroll Cards For Employer Satisfaction
In a recent interview with PYMNTS, Adam Sohn, chief growth officer at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), discussed the opportunities that employers can find within the payroll card, particularly for under- and un-banked employees. Citing the high costs of physical paper checks, as well as the pain points for employees having to cash them at expensive physical locations, Sohn noted that the payroll card can address the financial services needs of professionals who lack a traditional bank account. It’s a tool, he noted, that can strengthen ties between employer and employee.
SHRN recently launched its own payroll solution, a physical card that’s linked to a mobile phone app that allows employees to more quickly obtain their earned wages and manage money on their mobile devices.
“Those extra couple of days to get faster access to your money can make a whole lot of difference,” said Sohn. “The idea of linking payroll funds to a card gives faster access to wages for people living paycheck to paycheck — and there are so many of them.”