Choosing the right corporate card
There are many types of corporate cards, but which is right for your organization? These tips can help you find the best program and get the most value out of your card.
The right corporate card program can help your business improve its payment processes, from simplified cost management to increased controls. A few crucial factors determine which program will best fit your company, such as annual spend, typical purchases and employee access.
Knowing the different card types and what questions to ask can help you choose a program that will deliver efficiency and value.
What is a corporate card program?
Businesses rely on cards for various expenses, whether procurement of goods and services or employee travel and entertainment. A corporate card program refers simply to the cards a company chooses to use, as well as the processes it puts in place to maintain oversight of expenses and access.
A corporate card program is useful because it can help eliminate waste, fraud or overspending—which often arise from informal expense processes. With defined policies and procedures in place, businesses can gain greater visibility into their spending and strategically manage it.
Be strategic when starting your corporate card search
It’s important to build a corporate card program that aligns with broader company goals. Setting strategic parameters and expectations will help you identify the corporate card(s) likely to return the most value to you.
- Start by examining how purchasing management is structured. Some organizations allow individual cardholders to make purchases directly; others might run purchases through a dedicated accounts payable department. Consider whether a structural change is needed to meet goals.
- Next, evaluate the expense policies and procedures in place. Are those policies separate for travel and purchasing, or are they the same? How do you communicate those policies to your employees?
- With your key stakeholders, assess how your current payment needs may change in the short and long terms.
What are the different types of corporate cards?
Once you’ve established a framework for your formal corporate card program, it’s time to choose the card itself. There are several options to consider:
Standard corporate cards
Corporate cards are designed to improve oversight and management of employee spending, typically with travel and entertainment. Such cards give the organization more ability to set controls and track spend, while simplifying payables in general. Technology like data-mined insights and contactless payments are further advantages.
All-in-one cards—like One Card from J.P. Morgan—offer businesses a way to manage travel, entertainment and everyday expenses with a single card. Consolidated expense management can offer benefits like improved security, program flexibility, extensive reporting and ERP integration. Plus, companies can choose rebates or rewards to best suit business needs and maximize benefits.
Virtual cards can be ideal for scaling businesses. Digitized payments can improve efficiency through automation, while still offering the same benefits in tracking and management. Often, these cards can help strengthen supplier relationships and come with increased self-service features, along with rebates to help maximize working capital.
These are dedicated procurement cards used for everyday expenses, equipment, office supplies and other operations-based purchases. The upside is more control, less bureaucracy, enhanced flexibility and optimized payables.
Getting the most out of your card program
It’s important to set your organization up for success with a corporate card program. Getting the most long-term value out of a card means positioning the business through industry best practices and strategic planning. There are several considerations to keep in mind:
- Your company’s size and revenue will impact the decision, not just your payables needs. An organization with $20 million in annual revenue will have different considerations than a $1 billion organization.
- Implementation requires a thorough roadmap that matches your needs, abilities and constraints. For example, some organizations may find implementation is easily streamlined with standard specifications for reporting, data feeds and merchant category code (MCC) designations. Others may have more multifaceted needs and may require close consultation with their providers to develop tailored implementation plans.
- The right provider can make all the difference. When shopping for cards, compare vendors in terms of onboarding resources, dedicated relationship management teams, technical support, analytics, product offerings and card acceptance.
Build your corporate card program with J.P. Morgan
We have the solutions and experts to help you get the most out of your corporate card program. A corporate card from J.P. Morgan means security, wide acceptance, spending visibility, customized integration and improved controls.
Use our interactive guide to help you find the best corporate card for your business.
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